Moderation Mythbuster

Is Iran Moderating under Hassan Rouhani?

Since the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 powers on July 14, 2015, also known as the Iran Deal, UANI has been monitoring the day-to-day actions of the Iranian regime to determine if the Iranian regime is abiding by its commitments and moderating its aggressive and threatening behavior.

A key benefit of the Iran Deal, proponents of the agreement argued, would be that it would contribute to the moderation of the Iranian regime. By tracking developments in Iran’s nuclear program, human rights situation, regional destabilizing activities, sponsorship of terrorism, and relations with the U.S., UANI’s JCPOA Accountability Tracker clearly shows that the Iranian regime has not moderated as a result of the JCPOA and has in fact adopted a more hardline approach both in its domestic and foreign policy.

To see daily Iran-related developments prior to the JCPOA, view UANI’s Rouhani Accountability Tracker.

Date Theme Event
08-15-2019
Terrorism

The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Wednesday that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group had sharpened its military capabilities fighting in Syria and was now strong enough to “wipe the Zionist regime off the map” on its own.

The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Wednesday that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group had sharpened its military capabilities fighting in Syria and was now strong enough to “wipe the Zionist regime off the map” on its own. “They [the US and its allies] intended to undermine Iran’s regional influence, but everyone witnessed how this policy backfired to increase Iran’s influence and a united front was formed against the Zionist regime,” Gen. Hossein Salami said at a ceremony in the northern city of Urumiyeh, according to the Fars news agency. “The Lebanese Hezbollah has now developed such an extent of power through the experience of confrontation against proxy wars that it is now able to wipe the Zionist regime off the map in any possible war by itself,” he said. (Times of Israel)

08-14-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has criticized a US-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz, saying Washington's military build-up in the Gulf was aimed at "creating division and emptying the treasuries" of countries in the region.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has criticised a US-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz, saying Washington's military build-up in the Gulf was aimed at "creating division and emptying the treasuries" of countries in the region.  Speaking during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Rouhani said the Gulf countries could handle their own security and called for unity to do so. "All talks about establishing a new coalition in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman won't be practical," Rouhani said, according to the Iranian Student News Agency. "No doubt that it won't help the security of the region. There is no need for the presence of foreign forces to provide security." (Al-Jazeera)

08-14-2019
Human Rights

A British-Iranian academic, Kameel Ahmady, was arrested at his home in Tehran over the weekend, roiling relations once again between Iran and Britain just as they appeared to be making progress on the release of an Iranian tanker seized in Gibraltar.

A British-Iranian academic was arrested at his home in Tehran over the weekend, roiling relations once again between Iran and Britain just as they appeared to be making progress on the release of an Iranian tanker seized in Gibraltar. The academic, Kameel Ahmady, an acclaimed social anthropologist of Kurdish origin, was detained on Sunday after Iranian security forces raided his house and seized documents, including his birth certificate, his wife, Shafaq Rahmani, said in a text message. “A security prosecutor in Evin has issued a one-month arrest warrant for Kameel. No information about Kameel’s arrest or charge has been provided,” Ms. Rahmani wrote in an Instagram post, referring to Evin Prison, where a British-Iranian woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, has been jailed since 2016 on espionage charges. (New York Times)

08-13-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran’s state TV reports that the country’s supreme leader is urging support for Yemen’s Houthis against a Saudi-led coalition that he says is trying to “disintegrate” the country.

Iran’s state TV reports that the country’s supreme leader is urging support for Yemen’s Houthis against a Saudi-led coalition that he says is trying to “disintegrate” the country. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with Mohammad Abdul Salam, the spokesman for Yemen’s Ansarallah Movement, in Tehran on Tuesday. The group is commonly referred to as the Houthis. Khamenei says Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their supporters seek to break up Yemen, “which must stand firm against this conspiracy.” (Associated Press)

08-13-2019
Nuclear Program

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi announced that the Islamic Republic's enriched uranium stockpile has reached 370 kilograms, above the JCPOA’s 300 kg limit, and warned, “this amount is growing fast.”

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi announced on Tuesday, August 13, that the Islamic Republic's enriched uranium stockpile has reached 370 kilograms. "We are producing [enriched uranium] with a good capacity and our stockpile is 60 to 70 kilograms above the 300kg [JCPOA limit] and this amount is growing fast," Behrouz Kamalvandi said on the sideline of a ceremony which marked the construction of a research center on separation and development of the applications of stable isotopes at Fordow nuclear facility in Qom. The 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, known as JCPOA, limits Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium to 300 kg. Echoing recent remarks by the Islamic Republic's President Hassan Rouhani, Kamalvandi also insisted, "Iran is not obliged to restrict its stockpile of heavy water to 130 tons," adding, "Although our heavy water exports are not big figures, we have diverse markets which include European and non-European countries. Iran should not lose any of these markets." (Radio Farda)

08-10-2019
Terrorism

An official with Palestinian terror group Hamas on Saturday told a Lebanese newspaper that in the next major conflagration, should the Gaza rulers feel that Israel is trying to “break” the group, its regional allies will join forces with Hamas.

An official with Palestinian terror group Hamas on Saturday told a Lebanese newspaper that in the next major conflagration, should the Gaza rulers feel that Israel is trying to “break” the group, its regional allies will join forces with Hamas. This was one of the understandings reached between Hamas and Iran during a high-level meeting last month in Tehran, the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese paper al-Akhbar reported (in Arabic) on Saturday. “If the Israeli enemy launches aggression against the Gaza Strip, and we estimate that it is a confined battle that will not develop into a war to break us, we will face it alone,” the official was quoted by the paper as saying. “But if the enemy [Israel] tries to break the resistance, the rest of the axis will join the battle,” he went on, in reference to Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah. (Times of Israel)

08-10-2019
Military

Iran unveiled on Saturday what authorities said was a locally upgraded radar system with a range of 400 km (250 miles) that could help defend against cruise and ballistic missiles and drones.

Iran unveiled on Saturday what authorities said was a locally upgraded radar system with a range of 400 km (250 miles) that could help defend against cruise and ballistic missiles and drones. The announcement comes at a time of rising tension between Iran and United States. Iran shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone in the Gulf with a surface-to-air missile in June. Tehran says the drone was over its territory, but Washington says it was in international airspace. State television showed the Falaq, a mobile radar and a vehicle housing a control room, which it said was an improved version of the Gamma, a system that military experts said was of Russian origin. (Reuters)

08-08-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s intelligence minister has said that by pulling out of the nuclear agreement, President Donald Trump lost his last chance to talk with Iran and will take his wish for negotiations “to his grave with him”.

Iran’s intelligence minister has said that by pulling out of the nuclear agreement, President Donald Trump lost his last chance to talk with Iran and will take his wish for negotiations “to his grave with him”. Mahmoud Alavi was quoted by Iranian media on Thursday as saying that the U.S. president gave the coup de grace to his “last chance” to negotiate with Tehran. Alavi added, the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement known as JCPOA, and the reimposition of sanctions was a “violation of international commitments” and insisted that “ultimately victory will be with Iran”. (Radio Farda)

08-08-2019
Terrorism

The US Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration has issued a new warning to commercial shipping about Iranian threats in the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf, saying that some ships have reported having their GPS interfered with.

The US Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration has issued a new warning to commercial shipping about Iranian threats in the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf, saying that some ships have reported having their GPS interfered with. Additionally, the administration warned that there have been reports of "unknown entities falsely claiming to be US or coalition warships." The warning, which was issued Wednesday, listed a series of incidents involving Iran since May, including Iran's seizure of the United Kingdom-flagged M/V STENA IMPERO and the detention and subsequent release of the Liberian-flagged M/V MESDAR. It said that during "at least two" recent encounters involving Iranian military forces, "vessels reported GPS interference. One vessel reportedly shut off its Automatic Identification System (AIS) before it was seized, complicating response efforts." "Vessels have also reported spoofed bridge-to-bridge communications from unknown entities falsely claiming to be US or coalition warships," the warning added. (CNN)

08-07-2019
Syria Conflict

Rhetoric by pro-Iranian groups in Iraq, as well as the threat from Iranian-backed militias operating there, have increased in the last several months, according to a US report.

Rhetoric by pro-Iranian groups in Iraq, as well as the threat from Iranian-backed militias operating there, have increased in the last several months, according to a US report. The quarterly Lead Inspector General Report covers incidents from April to the end of June and examines the US-led anti-ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria. In Syria, the report notes that Iran “continues to field Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps soldiers, support Lebanese Hezbollah and command Shia foreign fighter networks.” This includes up to 3,000 IRGC and up to 100,000 of these Shi’ite fighters, some of whom come from as far away as Pakistan and Afghanistan and were recruited to help the Syrian regime. (Jerusalem Post)

08-07-2019
Military

Iran has unveiled three new precision-guided missiles amid tensions between Iran and the US and European countries in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran has unveiled three new precision-guided missiles on Tuesday amid tensions between Iran and the US and European countries in the Strait of Hormuz. The air-to-air missiles revealed by Tehran are called the “Yasin” and the “Balaban,” as well as a new series of the “Qaem” missile, and were developed jointly by the Iranian Defense Ministry and Sa Iran (Iran Electronics Industries). According to Iran’s Mehr News Agency, the Yasin is a smart guided missile with folding wings that can be fired from a range of 50 km. of its target from manned or unmanned aircraft. The Balaban smart bomb is guided by hybrid inertial navigation system (INS)/Global Positioning System (GPS) guidance and sensors to boost its precision capabilities and is equipped with folding wings and can be mounted under an aircraft.  The Qaem optic smart bomb meanwhile is a heat-seeking missile equipped with heat and cylinder seekers that allow the bomb to hit within 50 cm. of a target. (Jerusalem Post)

08-07-2019
Politics

Lambasting the Islamic Republic's judiciary for accusing journalists and political activists of "intelligence-related crimes," former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has also criticized the government and Majles (parliament) for standing idly by.

Lambasting the Islamic Republic's judiciary for accusing journalists and political activists of "intelligence-related crimes," former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has also criticized the government and Majles (parliament) for standing idly by. The mid-ranking cleric, and twice president (1997-2005), Khatami says that he is "surprised" that the government and Majles have kept mum against such injustice. "I am astonished that a government elected on the platform of providing people with their legal rights, as well as the pro-reform members of Majles, who boast about defending the nation and the constitution, do not step forward, and shout against this injustice?" Khatami told a gathering of journalists on Tuesday, August 6. (Radio Farda)

08-07-2019
Terrorism

Suspected Iranian hackers infiltrated critical infrastructure and government computers in the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain within the last month, raising fears among leaders in the region that Tehran is stepping up its cyberattacks amid growing tensions

Suspected Iranian hackers infiltrated critical infrastructure and government computers in the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain within the last month, raising fears among leaders in the region that Tehran is stepping up its cyberattacks amid growing tensions. The intrusions, according to people familiar with them, rose above the normal level of Iranian cyber activity in the region. On Monday, hackers broke into the systems of Bahrain’s National Security Agency—the country’s main criminal investigative authority—as well as the Ministry of Interior and the first deputy prime minister’s office, according to one of the people familiar with the matter. On July 25, Bahrain authorities identified intrusions into its Electricity and Water Authority. The hackers shut down several systems in what the authorities believed was a test run of Iran’s capability to disrupt the country, the person said. “They had command and control of some of the systems,” the person said. (Wall Street Journal)

08-06-2019
Anti-Americanism

War with Iran is the mother of all wars, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday in a speech broadcast live on state TV, warning once again that shipping might not be safe in the Strait of Hormuz oil waterway.

War with Iran is the mother of all wars, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday in a speech broadcast live on state TV, warning once again that shipping might not be safe in the Strait of Hormuz oil waterway. Tensions have risen between Iran and the West since last year when the United States pulled out of an international agreement which curbed the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions on Iran. “Peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” Rouhani said at the Foreign Ministry in a speech which also praised Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif after the United States imposed sanctions on him on July 31. (Reuters)

08-06-2019
Terrorism

Two weeks after a visit to Tehran by representatives from HAMAS, Israeli media reported an eye-catching increase in Iran's financial assistance to this Palestinian group from $100 million to $360 million annually.

Two weeks after a visit to Tehran by representatives from HAMAS, Israeli media on Tuesday August 6 reported an eye-catching increase in Iran's financial assistance to this Palestinian group. Quoting unnamed Israeli government sources, these reports say Iran has increased its usual annual $100 million aide to HAMAS to $360 million after the visit. The Jerusalem Post and Israel's Channel 12 TV say the 3.5 fold rise in aide to HAMAS is aimed at meeting certain demands by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. According to these reports, Iran has asked HAMAS to provide Tehran with information about Israel's missile capabilities. (Radio Farda)

08-05-2019
Military

The head of Iran's navy has said his forces planned to train alongside their Russian counterparts by the end of the year as both nations stepped up their rhetoric against U.S. policies targeting them.

The head of Iran's navy has said his forces planned to train alongside their Russian counterparts by the end of the year as both nations stepped up their rhetoric against U.S. policies targeting them. Iranian naval commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi confirmed Sunday that Iran and Russia had signed their first-ever memorandum of understanding regarding inter-military affairs last week during his visit to Moscow. He also briefly discussed joint military exercises he previously said at the time would be held in the northern Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman. "Soon the preparations and maneuvers' planning will start and they will be conducted this year," Khanzadi said, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency, which reported in English that the training could be carried by March 2020. (Newsweek)

08-05-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran told European powers it would further reduce compliance with its 2015 nuclear deal in about a month’s time if they were still failing to protect it from crippling U.S. sanctions, reimposed after Washington exited the deal.

Iran told European powers on Monday it would further reduce compliance with its 2015 nuclear deal in about a month’s time if they were still failing to protect it from crippling U.S. sanctions, reimposed after Washington exited the deal. European signatories to the deal have so far been helpless to prevent U.S. President Donald Trump trying to force Iran to accept stricter limits to its nuclear activity and regional behavior by strangling its vital oil trade. Iran has threatened to block all energy exports out of the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of global oil traffic passes, if it is unable to sell oil as promised by the 2015 deal in exchange for curbing its uranium enrichment program. “With the continuation of the inaction of the Europeans in carrying out their commitments (to the nuclear deal) ... Iran will take a third step (in reducing commitments) in approximately one month,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. (Reuters)

08-04-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, state television reported, the third time Tehran has reported detaining a tanker in the last month.

Iran seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, state television reported on Sunday, the third time Tehran has reported detaining a tanker in the last month as the United States applies its campaign of “maximum pressure,” sanctions and diplomatic isolation against the country. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps detained the tanker on Wednesday along with the seven members of the ship’s foreign crew, according to official Iranian news agencies, which cited a naval commander. Iran said the tanker was “smuggling” fuel to some Arab states, without offering evidence. The oil tanker was an Iraqi ship, the official IRNA news agency reported, quoting the Revolutionary Guards Corps. (New York Times)

08-02-2019
Human Rights

Three women held in custody for "disrespecting compulsory hijab," or the so-called Islamic dress code, have been sentenced to a total of 55 years and six months.

Three women held in custody for "disrespecting compulsory hijab," or the so-called Islamic dress code, have been sentenced to a total of 55 years and six months. A "Revolutionary Court" in the capital city of Tehran delivered the verdict to Monireh Arabshahi, Yasamin Ariany, and Mojgan Keshavarz who are behind bars in the notorious Qarchak prison. Arabshahi and Ariany's legal counsel, Amir Raeesian, told Ensaf News website August 1 that if the verdict is upheld, his clients would be sentenced to ten years to serve, each. In Iran if a prison term is unusually long, a shorter sentence is set to be served. Usually, the shorter sentence to be served is a little more than half of the original long prison term. (Radio Farda)

08-01-2019
Syria Conflict

An airstrike launched by the Houthi faction in Yemen killed at least 40 people, including a senior Yemeni military commander, at a parade in the city of Aden, officials said.

An airstrike launched by the Houthi faction in Yemen on Thursday killed at least 40 people, including a senior Yemeni military commander, at a parade in the city of Aden, officials said. In a separate attack in the city, a suicide bomber drove a truck full of explosives into a police station, killing at least 11 people, officials said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for that blast. At least 50 people were wounded in the two attacks in Aden, the provisional capital of the Saudi-backed forces in the country’s civil war. The missile strike on the military parade was the bloodiest assault on the Saudi-backed forces and their territory since their other main external sponsor, the United Arab Emirates, announced a steep drawdown of troops last month. (New York Times)

08-01-2019
Human Rights

A Swedish-Iranian medical doctor and researcher who has been in jail in Iran since 2016 on charges of "espionage" with a death sentence, has been moved to solitary confinement in an unidentified place, the inmate's wife told Radio Farda.

A Swedish-Iranian medical doctor and researcher who has been in jail in Iran since 2916 on charges of "espionage" with a death sentence, has been moved to an unidentified place, the inmate's wife told Radio Farda on Thursday August 1. Ahmad Reza Jalali (Djalali) was arrested by Iranian intelligence while visiting Iran to attend a scientific conference at the invitation of the University of Tehran in May 2016. Vida Mehran Nia, Jalali's wife , told Radio Farda that moving Jalali to solitary confinement in an unidentified place came as a surprise to the inmate and his family. Jalali called his wife in Sweden on Tuesday, and told her that he has been moved to a cell which is monitored by CCTV. Human rights watchdogs all over the world have protested Jalaii's death sentence which has been confirmed by the Iranian Supreme Court. (Radio Farda)

07-29-2019
Military

The head of Iran's navy has said he signed a document to expand ties with Russia, with whom his forces planned on conducting joint drills in the same tense waters that the United States sought to counter the Islamic Republic with international support.

The head of Iran's navy has said he signed a document to expand ties with Russia, with whom his forces planned on conducting joint drills in the same tense waters that the United States sought to counter the Islamic Republic with international support. Iranian naval commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said Monday that he signed an unprecedented memorandum of understanding with Russia, largely involving the two countries' naval forces, and that it "may be considered as a turning point in relations of Tehran in Moscow," according to Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency. The news came as Khanzadi was visiting St. Petersburg to celebrate Russia's Navy Day and he further announced that "joint Russian-Iranian exercises in the Indian Ocean are expected to take place soon." "When we talk about the Indian Ocean, perhaps the most significant part of the area is the northern Indian Ocean, which flows into the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz and also the Persian Gulf," Khanzadi said. (Newsweek)

07-28-2019
Nuclear Program

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, told lawmakers on Sunday that Iran will restart activities at the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor, the ISNA news agency reported.

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, told lawmakers on Sunday that Iran will restart activities at the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor, the ISNA news agency reported. ISNA cited a member of parliament who attended the meeting. Heavy water can be employed in reactors to produce plutonium, a fuel used in nuclear warheads. Iran stopped complying in May with some commitments in the 2015 nuclear deal that was agreed with global powers, after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the accord in 2018 and re-introduced sanctions on Tehran. (Reuters)

07-26-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran fired a Shahab-3 medium-range missile, a United States military official said, playing it down by saying that it did not pose a threat to American or other Western shipping or military bases in the region.

Iran fired a Shahab-3 medium-range missile on Wednesday, a United States military official said, playing it down by saying that it did not pose a threat to American or other Western shipping or military bases in the region. The missile was launched from the southern coast of Iran and landed east of Tehran, the official said on Thursday, adding that it flew about 1,100 kilometers, or about 680 miles, and stayed inside Iran for the entire flight. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence analyses, said that American officials had been closely monitoring the test site as Iran prepared the missile for launch. (New York Times)

07-25-2019
Terrorism

The Shin Bet intelligence agency said that it busted an Iranian espionage network that aimed to recruit operatives in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip "for the benefit of Iranian intelligence."

The Shin Bet intelligence agency said Wednesday that it busted an Iranian espionage network that aimed to recruit operatives in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip "for the benefit of Iranian intelligence." The Shin Bet cooperated with Israeli police, the army and other security bodies in this regard. According to a statement issued by the agency, the network was based in Syria under Iranian guidance and was led by a Syrian operative nicknamed ‘Abu Jihad.’ It attempted to recruit people via preliminary contacts based on fictitious Facebook profiles and later messaging apps. “Using social networks to recruit people is a method known to intelligence elements including those affiliated with terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The affair joins other recent events in which terrorist elements (including those from Hamas and Hezbollah) have established contacts with Israeli Arabs and Palestinians over the internet in order to recruit them for intelligence gathering and terrorist activity,” revealed the statement. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

07-24-2019
Human Rights

Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof has been sentenced to one year in prison after being convicted of "spreading propaganda" against the Islamic republic.

Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof has been sentenced to one year in prison after being convicted of "spreading propaganda" against the Islamic republic, a charge that is often brought against intellectuals and critics of the Iranian establishment. Rasoulof told RFE/RL's Radio Farda on July 22 that he also has been banned from leaving the country for two years and faces a two-year ban on membership in political and social parties and organizations. He has 20 days to appeal the sentence. The 47-year-old filmmaker, who has been detained and banned from leaving the country in the past, says the content of movies, which authorities consider a threat against the clerical establishment, is the reason for his new conviction. (RFE/RL)

07-24-2019
Anti-Americanism

The top military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Tehran would not negotiate with the United States under any circumstances, an apparent hardening of its position as the Gulf tanker crisis escalates.

The top military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Tehran would not negotiate with the United States under any circumstances, an apparent hardening of its position as the Gulf tanker crisis escalates. … The tough remarks by Khamenei’s aide, Hossein Dehghan, a senior commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards whose views are seen as reflecting those of Khamenei, appeared to take a firm line in response to Western proposals to beef up security in the Strait of Hormuz in the wake of the seizure of the ship. Dehghan said Iran would take action if the status of the strait were altered, and that no country would be allowed to ship oil through it unless all countries can. (Reuters)

07-23-2019
Terrorism

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations accused Iran of exploiting civilian companies and maritime channels to smuggle weapons manufacturing equipment to its Lebanese proxy group, Hezbollah.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday accused Iran of exploiting civilian companies and maritime channels to smuggle weapons manufacturing equipment to its Lebanese proxy group, Hezbollah. In the quarterly meeting on the Middle East, Ambassador Danny Danon told the Security Council that Israeli intelligence has uncovered evidence showing Iran’s Quds Force has been using the port of Beirut to ship items to the terror group since last year. “In the years 2018-2019, Israel found that dual-use items are smuggled into Lebanon to advance Hezbollah’s rocket and missile capabilities,” he said. “Iran and the Quds Force have begun to advance the exploitation of the civilian maritime channels, and specifically the Port of Beirut,” Danon said. “The Port of Beirut has become the Port of Hezbollah.” (Times of Israel)

07-22-2019
Terrorism

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with a delegation from the Palestinian terror group Hamas and held talks with its deputy chief, Saleh al-Arouri, who is heading the delegation.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met Monday with a delegation from the Palestinian terror group Hamas and held talks with its deputy chief, Saleh al-Arouri, who is heading the delegation. Khamenei told the Hamas officials that supporting the Palestinians “is an ideological and religious matter” and strongly condemned the Mideast peace plan pushed by US President Donald Trump’s administration, which he said the Palestinians have “precision missiles” to resist. “The dangerous conspiracy of the ‘Deal of the Century’ is aimed at destroying the Palestinian identity among the Palestinian public and youth,” an English statement on his website quoted him as saying. (Times of Israel)

07-19-2019
Anti-Americanism

Immediately after entering the Strait of Hormuz at 7 a.m. local time on Thursday, a group of six U.S. Navy ships had a series of tense encounters with the Iranian military, culminating in the downing of an Iranian drone.

Immediately after entering the Strait of Hormuz at 7 a.m. local time on Thursday, a group of six U.S. Navy ships had a series of tense encounters with the Iranian military, culminating in the downing of an Iranian drone. The incident came after the group of six ships led by this sea-to-land assault vessel headed into waters where the U.S. and the U.K. have blamed Iran for attacking or harassing commercial vessels. Iran downed an American spy drone over the Persian Gulf last month and, on Thursday, seized a foreign vessel it accused of smuggling. An unarmed Iranian navy Bell 212 helicopter flew alongside the Boxer, yards away from the deck, before it was chased away by a U.S. helicopter. The commander of the Boxer, Capt. Ronald Dowdell, called the engagement “surreal.” The convoy swept past the speed boats without incident but was followed by the larger Iranian military vessel, which came as close as 500 yards to the Boxer—the distance the U.S. navy allows before verbally communicating to a ship not to come any closer. (Wall Street Journal)

07-18-2019
Syria Conflict

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran has detained a foreign oil tanker it said had been smuggling fuel, Iranian news media reported, days after a United Arab Emirates vessel with the same name disappeared in the Persian Gulf.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran has detained a foreign oil tanker it said had been smuggling fuel, Iranian news media reported on Thursday, days after a United Arab Emirates vessel with the same name disappeared in the Persian Gulf. The disclosure raised tensions in the running conflict that has pitted Iran against some of its regional neighbors and the United States. Several state news organizations in Iran reported the seizure of the tanker, based on a statement from the Revolutionary Guards, which claimed that the ship had been carrying one million liters of contraband fuel. The Iranian state news agency Al Alam reported that the Revolutionary Guards detained the ship on Sunday. (The New York Times)

07-18-2019
Human Rights

Iran’s judiciary has just confirmed the arrest of Fariba Adelkhah, a French-Iranian anthropologist, in Tehran.

Iran’s judiciary has just confirmed the arrest of Fariba Adelkhah, a French-Iranian anthropologist, in Tehran. Media sources had earlier reported that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Intelligence Organization arrested Adelkhah, a researcher at the Paris-based academic institute Sciences Po, at her home on June 7. She has been detained ever since. The accusations against her remain unclear, but her arrest fits an all-too-familiar pattern concerning Iran’s targeting of dual nationals. As the IRGC Intelligence Organization has gained more power domestically, the agency has carried out the majority of arrests of Iranian dual national citizens and foreigners whom it perceives have links with Western academic, economic, and cultural institutions. These include academics, art curators, and journalists. During interrogations, IRGC officials reportedly accuse detainees of espionage, not based on specific evidence, but simply because of detainees’ affiliations with Western public institutions. Iranian state media also broadcast so-called “documentaries,” accusing suspects of being spies for foreign countries before they are convicted. (Human Rights Watch)

07-18-2019
Nuclear Program

The United States imposed sanctions on an international network of companies and their agents it said were involved in the procurement of materials for Iran’s nuclear program.

The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on an international network of companies and their agents it said were involved in the procurement of materials for Iran’s nuclear program. They are the first punitive steps by Washington since Tehran announced earlier this month it would increase its levels of enriched uranium that can be used for bomb fuel. Tehran announced on July 1 that it had amassed more low-enriched uranium than permitted under its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, marking its first major step beyond the terms of the pact since the United States withdrew more than a year ago. “Treasury is taking action to shut down an Iranian nuclear procurement network that leverages Chinese- and Belgium-based front companies to acquire critical nuclear materials and benefit the regime’s malign ambitions,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. (Reuters)

07-17-2019
Syria Conflict

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group said it launched a drone attack on Jizan airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia, part of an escalation of cross-border assaults in the 4-year-old conflict.

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group said it launched a drone attack on Jizan airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia early on Wednesday, part of an escalation of cross-border assaults in the 4-year-old conflict. The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen said it had intercepted and downed a Houthi drone heading towards civilian targets in Jizan. Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saria said the attack disrupted operations at the airport. The Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa, have in the past few months stepped up their attacks against targets in Saudi Arabia. In response, the coalition has targeted military sites belonging to the group, especially around Sanaa. (Reuters)

07-17-2019
Human Rights

A British-Iranian woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, detained in Tehran since 2016 has been moved to a hospital psychiatric unit, her family said, prompting fears for her well-being.

A British-Iranian woman detained in Tehran since 2016 has been moved to a hospital psychiatric unit, her family said, prompting fears for her well-being. The moving of the woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, was initially seen as a positive development, because she had been requesting treatment for months. But her family said on Wednesday that they had not been able to speak with her for days. They say she is under the watch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a powerful arm of the Iranian military. And they worry that the group’s involvement could mean that she is being pressured by the government. (The New York Times)

07-17-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran is capable of shutting the Strait of Hormuz -- a crucial choke-point for oil flows -- but doesn’t want to do it, the country’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

Iran is capable of shutting the Strait of Hormuz -- a crucial choke-point for oil flows -- but doesn’t want to do it, the country’s foreign minister said. “We certainly have the ability to do it, but we certainly don’t want to do it because the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf are our lifeline,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said Wednesday in an interview with Bloomberg Television in New York. “It has to be secured. We play a big role in securing it, but it has to be secure for everybody.” About one-third of the world’s seaborne crude and fuels passed through the Strait of Hormuz last year, highlighting its key role in global oil markets. In May and June, six tankers were attacked in the region. While Iran has been blamed for attacks on merchant shipping, it has denied responsibility. (Bloomberg)

07-16-2019
Extremism

Ayatollah Khamenei struck a belligerent tone in an escalating confrontation with the West, promising further Iranian violations of the fraying nuclear agreement and retaliation for what he called the piracy of an Iranian tanker by “the vicious British."

Iran’s top leader struck a belligerent tone Tuesday in an escalating confrontation with the West, promising further Iranian violations of the fraying nuclear agreement and retaliation for what he called the piracy of an Iranian tanker by “the vicious British.” The defiance expressed by the top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, contrasted with what seemed like a less confrontational stance taken at the White House. President Trump told reporters that “we’re not looking for regime change” in Iran and that Iranian leaders had communicated a desire for negotiations with the United States despite their hostile remarks in public. “They’d like to talk, and we’ll see what happens,” Mr. Trump said. Mike Pompeo, Mr. Trump’s secretary of state, asserted that Iran was willing to negotiate over its missile program, an area of Western concern that was not covered in the 2015 nuclear agreement. (The New York Times)

07-13-2019
Terrorism

Iran won’t stand alone in fighting the U.S. if war breaks out between the two nations, the Islamic Republic’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah said.

Iran won’t stand alone in fighting the U.S. if war breaks out between the two nations, the Islamic Republic’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah said. Groups backed by Iran are currently in talks about the possibility of such a conflict, Hassan Nasrallah, chief of the militant organization, said in an interview broadcast Friday on its Al Manar TV. “Are we going to sit back and watch? Iran won’t be alone in the war, that is clear,” he said. (Bloomberg)

07-11-2019
Human Rights

The Iranian Human Rights News Agency, HRANA, reported that outspoken political activist Mohammad Nourizad, has been jailed.

The Iranian Human Rights News Agency, HRANA, reported on Wednesday July 10 that outspoken political activist Mohammad Nourizad, has been jailed. Nourizad was one of the signatories of a statement by 14 Iranian activists who called on Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to resign in order to end the country's political deadlock. Nourizad had said on Monday that he was going to Tehran's Evin Prison, where he was summoned to offer explanations about his visit to flood stricken areas in northern Iran in April. However, social media activists link the arrest to the statement signed by Nourizad and 13 other political activists. (Radio Farda)

07-11-2019
Military

Three Iranian boats briefly tried to block passage of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, Britain’s Defense Ministry said.

Three Iranian boats on Thursday briefly tried to block passage of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, Britain’s Defense Ministry said, in the latest sign that Tehran is seeking any possible pressure point it can exploit in its escalating confrontation with the West. The tanker, British Heritage, was under escort by a warship, the Montrose, and after a brief standoff but no exchange of fire the three Iranian boats complied with “verbal warnings” to retreat, the ministry said in a statement. “We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region,” it said. (New York Times)

07-11-2019
Nuclear Program

If European countries do not meet their commitments under a nuclear deal then Iran will “strongly” take more steps to reduce its own obligations, a senior Iranian parliamentarian said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

If European countries do not meet their commitments under a nuclear deal then Iran will “strongly” take more steps to reduce its own obligations, a senior Iranian parliamentarian said on Thursday, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. … Iran threatened on Monday to restart deactivated centrifuges and ramp up uranium enrichment to 20% purity, a move that would go far beyond the small steps Iran has taken in the past week to nudge stocks of fissile material just beyond limits in the pact. “In the event that Europe does not act on its commitments during the 60-day time span which we are currently in, Iran will take the third step strongly,” Mojtaba Zolnour, the chairman of parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy commission, said, according to Fars. (Reuters)

07-08-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran has surpassed the 3.67% cap on uranium enrichment set by a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and is now enriching uranium at 4.5%, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said.

Iran has surpassed the cap on uranium enrichment set by a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said Monday, warning that Tehran would take further steps to reduce its commitments under the accord. Behrouz Kamalvandi, speaking to local news agencies, said Iran has exceeded the 3.67 percent limit and is now enriching uranium at 4.5 percent, a rate far below the 90 percent needed to produce a nuclear weapon. The move was designed to pressure Europe to reset the terms of the nuclear agreement following a U.S. withdrawal from the pact last year. The deal curbed Iran’s atomic energy activities in exchange for widespread sanctions relief. (Washington Post)

07-08-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran warned it will take further steps to breach the 2015 nuclear accord in early September if it doesn’t receive long-sought relief from U.S. economic sanctions, as it began enriching uranium above limits set out in the deal.

Iran warned it will take further steps to breach the 2015 nuclear accord in early September if it doesn’t receive long-sought relief from U.S. economic sanctions, as it began enriching uranium above limits set out in the deal. Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday that Iran is prepared to take harder and more steadfast measures than the modest steps it has recently taken to expand its nuclear program, setting in motion what is likely to become months of escalating tension with Washington. President Trump said on Sunday that Iran “better be careful,” while senior U.S. officials signaled that Washington had every intention of continuing its economic-pressure campaign.

07-07-2019
Extremism

If Iran decides to confront you, a missile strike on the Dimona reactor would be enough," said Tehran's Friday Prayer Imam Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi-Kermani in a sermon addressing the United States and Israel, according to a report by Radio Farda.

If Iran decides to confront you, a missile strike on the Dimona reactor would be enough," said Tehran's Friday Prayer Imam Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi-Kermani in a sermon addressing the United States and Israel, according to a report by Radio Farda. Movahedi-Kermani threatened that such an attack on the nuclear reactor in Israel's Negev desert would "plow Israel 200 times." "You are living in a glass house. You’d better watch out," said the Tehran-based Imam. He also warned the US against a military attack on Iran, saying: "Think of an attack only if you want to change the color of the Persian Gulf waters from azure to red." (Jerusalem Post)

07-06-2019
Syria Conflict

In a growing and increasingly consistent sign that Iran is linked to Houthi drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, Iranian media plastered headlines with a story of a drone attack on Jizan Airport in southern Saudi Arabia.

In a growing and increasingly consistent sign that Iran is linked to Houthi drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, Iranian media plastered headlines with a story of a drone attack on Jizan Airport in southern Saudi Arabia. The report from Fars News says the Yemeni Armed Forces – its term for the Houthi rebels – launched a drone attack Thursday night on Jizan Airport and “significant military targets” at the airport. The drones were described as Qasef-K2, which were using precision guidance. The Houthis claimed the attack was the latest in a series retaliating for Saudi airstrikes over the last four years, since Riyadh intervened in Yemen to stop the Houthis seizing the Port of Aden. The Houthis also said the drone raid was an attempt to show the US what they are capable of. Houthis celebrated what they claimed was the end of flights in Jizan due to the drones. Tasnim News also reported the attack. (Jerusalem Post)

07-05-2019
Human Rights

The Islamic Republic has executed at least 110 people between January 1 and June 30, 2019, in prisons or in public, Iran Human Rights Organization (IHRO) reports.

The Islamic Republic has executed at least 110 people between January 1 and June 30, 2019, in prisons or in public, Iran Human Rights Organization (IHRO) reports. The number shows a rise compared with the same period last year. Two juveniles were among the executed, IHRO says, adding, the executioners hanged them in the central prison in the city of Shiraz (known as Adel Abad, meaning "Prosperous Place of Justice" in Persian). The hangings triggered widespread international criticism. Amin Sedaghat and Mehdi Sohrabifar, 17-year old cousins, were executed in early morning on April 25. They were 15 at the time of their arrest for rape and robbery, while one of them had a mental disability. (Radio Farda)

07-04-2019
Syria Conflict

British special forces seized a supertanker off Gibraltar carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European and U.S. sanctions against the war-torn country.

British special forces seized a supertanker off Gibraltar carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European and U.S. sanctions against the war-torn country. Iran responded by declaring the action illegal and summoning the British ambassador to the Foreign Ministry in Tehran to explain the ship’s arrest. The diplomatic row heightened tensions just as the U.K., France and Germany try to keep the Islamic Republic from walking away from an international deal to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons. The U.S. quit the pact a year ago, prompting Tehran to make good on an earlier warning that it would exceed the limits on its stockpile of enriched uranium. While Syrians will feel the immediate impact of halting the crucial oil shipment to the country, the arrested vessel shows the difficulty Iran faces in finding outlets for its crude as President Donald Trump’s administration ramps up sanctions. Iran’s oil production has dropped by 1.5 million barrel a day over the past year, poleaxing the Islamic Republic’s economy. (Bloomberg)

07-01-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran said that it has exceeded the 300-kilogram (660-pound) stockpile limit for low-enriched uranium allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers because Europe has failed to mitigate the impact of U.S. sanctions.

Iran said Monday that it has exceeded the stockpile limit for low-enriched uranium allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers because Europe has failed to mitigate the impact of U.S. sanctions, a move that could add to the friction between Tehran and Washington. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, confirmed that Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium exceeded the 300-kilogram (660-pound) limit allowed under the deal, spokesman Fredrik Dahl said.  Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the move was “reversible” but warned that Iran could continue to reduce its commitment to the agreement if Europe does not take action to uphold the other side of the deal, Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. (Washington Post)

06-30-2019
Syria Conflict

Saudi Arabia has intercepted two drones launched by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels, a Saudi-led coalition spokesman has said.

Saudi Arabia has intercepted two drones launched by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels, a Saudi-led coalition spokesman has said. The first drone targeted the province of Jizan, while the second was aimed at a residential area in Asir province, the coalition said in a statement released by the state-run Saudi Press Agency late on Saturday. Turki al-Maliki, the spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, said the drones caused no damage or casualties. (Al Jazeera)

06-27-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran will exceed limits on low-enriched uranium set by the 2015 nuclear accord unless Britain, France and Germany take timely, practical steps to preserve the agreement that is "now in critical condition," the Iranian ambassador to the U.N. said.

Iran will exceed limits on low-enriched uranium set by the 2015 nuclear accord unless Britain, France and Germany take timely, practical steps to preserve the agreement that is "now in critical condition," the Iranian ambassador to the U.N. said Wednesday. Majid Takht Ravanchi told a Security Council meeting that the three European countries, which support the deal, and the United States, which pulled out of it, will have to "accept the full responsibility for any possible consequences" if serious steps aren't taken. Britain, France, Germany and three other European Union countries responded by strongly urging Iran to abide by the agreement and "refrain from escalatory steps." (Associated Press)

06-26-2019
Anti-Americanism

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ruled out any negotiations with Washington and said that only the threat of military force provides protection from American domination.

In his first public comments since President Trump aborted an imminent attack on Iran last week, its top leader on Wednesday ruled out any negotiations with Washington and said that only the threat of military force provides protection from American domination. “Negotiation is an effort to deceive into doing what the U.S. desires,” said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the English translation on his official website. “It is like you hold a weapon, so the other side does not dare come close,” the ayatollah said, and then the Americans order Iran to drop the weapon “so I can do whatever I want to you.” “This is what they mean by negotiation,” he said. “If you accept their request, you will suffer the worst things, and if you don’t accept it, you will face the huff and puff and their hassles over human rights excuses.” (New York Times)

06-24-2019
Terrorism

Iran is setting up a network of terror cells in Africa to attack US and other Western targets in retaliation for Washington’s decision to impose sanctions against Tehran, according to Western security officials.

Iran is setting up a network of terror cells in Africa to attack US and other Western targets in retaliation for Washington’s decision to impose sanctions against Tehran, according to Western security officials. The new terror network has been established on the orders of Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force, the elite section of Iran’s Republican Guard Corps that has responsibility for overseas operations. The aim of the new terror cell is to target US and other Western military bases on the continent, as well as embassies and officials. The Iranian cells are said to be active in a number of African countries including Sudan, Chad, Ghana, Niger, Gambia and the Central African Republic. (Telegraph)

06-23-2019
Syria Conflict

One person was killed and seven others were wounded in an attack by Iranian-allied Yemeni rebels on a Saudi airport, Saudi Arabia said.

One person was killed and seven others were wounded on Sunday in an attack by Iranian-allied Yemeni rebels on a Saudi airport, Saudi Arabia said. The strike came as the American secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, traveled to the country for talks on Iran. … Sunday’s attack by the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis, targeted the Saudi airport in Abha. Saudi Arabia has been at war with the Houthis in Yemen for more than four years. A Houthi spokesman, Yahia al-Sarie, said earlier Sunday that the rebels had launched drones against Saudi airports in the southern cities of Abha and Jizan. Saudi Arabia’s military spokesman, Col. Turki al-Maliki, did not say what type of weapon was used in the attack late Sunday. The Saudi Press Agency reported that a Syrian resident of Saudi Arabia had been killed, but did not identify the nationalities of those wounded. (Associated Press)

06-21-2019
Terrorism

A multinational task force said it is keeping Iran on a financial blacklist for failing to take action to head off funds flowing to terrorists.

A multinational task force said Friday it is keeping Iran on a financial blacklist for failing to take action to head off funds flowing to terrorists. The 38-nation Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said it will require more onerous financial oversight if Tehran fails to meet an October deadline for improving its controls. "The FATF expects Iran to proceed swiftly in the reform path to ensure that it addresses all of the remaining items," according to the statement, while welcoming "high-level political commitment" to repair the deficiencies. (AFP)

06-20-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran shot down a United States military drone, further escalating the already volatile situation playing out between Washington and Tehran in the Middle East.

Iran shot down a United States military drone on Thursday, further escalating the already volatile situation playing out between Washington and Tehran in the Middle East. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said it had shot down an "intruding American spy drone" after it entered into the country's territory Thursday. A US official confirmed to CNN a drone had been shot down, but said the incident occurred in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most vital shipping routes. The location of the drone has become a key point of contention since the incident. Iran maintains that the US aircraft was downed in Iranian territory, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeting a timeline of the incident later on Thursday. "At 00:14 US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode & violated Iranian airspace. It was targeted at 04:05 at the coordinates (25°59'43"N 57°02'25"E) near Kouh-e Mobarak," he wrote. The United States countered with its own coordinates, suggesting that the drone had been flying in international airspace when it was shot down, at a point about nine nautical miles southwest of that cited by Iran. (CNN)

06-20-2019
Terrorism

Three different cybersecurity firms now say they've watched Iran's hackers try to gain access to a wide array of US organizations.

WHEN TWO COUNTRIES begin to threaten war in 2019, it's a safe bet that they've already been hacking each other's networks. Right on schedule, three different cybersecurity firms now say they've watched Iran's hackers try to gain access to a wide array of US organizations over the past few weeks, just as military tensions between the two countries rise to a breaking point—though it's not yet clear whether those hacker intrusions are aimed at intelligence gathering, laying the groundwork for a more disruptive cyberattack, or both. Analysts at two security firms, Crowdstrike and Dragos, tell WIRED that they've seen a new campaign of targeted phishing emails sent to a variety of US targets last week from a hacker group known by the names APT33, Magnallium, or Refined Kitten and widely believed to be working in the service of the Iranian government. Dragos named the Department of Energy and US national labs as some of the half-dozen targeted organizations. A third security firm, FireEye, independently confirmed that it's seen a broad Iranian phishing campaign targeting both government agencies and private sector companies in the US and Europe, without naming APT33 specifically. None of the companies had any knowledge of successful intrusions. (Wired)

06-17-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran said that its stockpile of enriched uranium will surpass limits set by the 2015 international nuclear deal 10 days from now, unless European partners in the agreement do more to help it circumvent U.S. sanctions.

Iran said Monday that its stockpile of enriched uranium will surpass limits set by the 2015 international nuclear deal 10 days from now, unless European partners in the agreement do more to help it circumvent U.S. sanctions — a step by Tehran likely to add to growing U.S.-Iran tensions. The announcement, made by the spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, was the first time Tehran explicitly said it was on track to violate the agreement. The increase in both quantity and quality of the enriched fuel could shorten the time, currently estimated at one year, that it would take to produce enough for a nuclear weapon. “There is still time for the European countries, but if they want more time it means that they either can’t or don’t want to honor their obligations” under the deal, spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told reporters gathered at Iran’s Arak heavy-water reactor. (Washington Post)

06-16-2019
Syria Conflict

Houthi rebels in Yemen recently shot down a U.S. government-operated drone with assistance from Iran, the U.S. military said in a statement.

Houthi rebels in Yemen recently shot down a U.S. government-operated drone with assistance from Iran, the U.S. military said in a statement on Sunday. Lt. Col. Earl Brown, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, said the altitude at which the MQ-9 drone was shot down on June 6 marked “an improvement over previous Houthi capability,” a fact that led the military to conclude the rebel group had help from Iran. Brown also noted that on June 13, Iran separately tried to shoot down yet another U.S. drone over the Gulf of Oman in an effort to disrupt surveillance of Iran’s attack on Kokuka Courageous, one of two oil tankers attacked on Thursday. (Reuters)

06-15-2019
Syria Conflict

Yemen’s Houthi movement launched fresh drone attacks targeting Jizan and Abha airports in southern Saudi Arabia, the group’s Al-Masirah TV said, adding the installations were out of service.

Yemen’s Houthi movement launched fresh drone attacks targeting Jizan and Abha airports in southern Saudi Arabia, the group’s Al-Masirah TV said on Saturday, adding the installations were out of service. The Saudi-led coalition said in a statement that it had intercepted and downed a Houthi drone targeting the southwestern city of Abha. The Iran-aligned group said multiple drone strike targeted control rooms at Jizan airport and a fuel station at Abha airport. (Reuters)

06-13-2019
Human Rights

Workers at the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane plant say the judicial authorities in Tehran are incessantly harassing their imprisoned co-workers and their relatives.

Workers at the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane plant say the judicial authorities in Tehran are incessantly harassing their imprisoned co-workers and their relatives. Speaking to Radio Farda, a Haft Tappeh worker disclosed that following the referral of legal cases against his peers to the capital city, and placing detained workers behind bars in Tehran's notorious Evin prison, it has become increasingly difficult for family members to visit them from from the oil-rich Khuzestan Province, southwest Iran. Thousands of Haft Tappeh workers held massive protests last November, demanding long overdue wages and the return of the agro-industrial complex’s ownership to the public sector. (Radio Farda)

06-13-2019
Syria Conflict

The U.S. blamed Iran for attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, saying the assaults were the latest in a series of hostile actions meant to disrupt the flow of oil.

The U.S. blamed Iran for attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, saying the assaults were the latest in a series of hostile actions meant to disrupt the flow of oil. “Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, vowing the U.S. would defend itself and its partners. The flare-up is the latest since President Trump’s decision last year to pull out of a 2015 international deal to cap Iran’s nuclear program. Four tankers were attacked last month in the Gulf of Oman, an incident the U.S. also blamed on Iran. (Wall Street Journal)

06-12-2019
Human Rights

Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese man and permanent U.S. resident who was recently released from an Iranian prison, said he was subjected to "all kinds of torture," both physical and mental, during his detention in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran.

A Lebanese man and permanent U.S. resident who was released after spending years in an Iranian prison called on President Donald Trump and Western countries to "please get back your hostages from Iran," adding that he saw American detainees during his nearly four-year imprisonment. In an interview with The Associated Press, Nizar Zakka said he was subjected to "all kinds of torture," both physical and mental, during his detention in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, including standing on one leg for hours, extended periods of interrogation and lack of food. "Nobody on earth deserves such suffering," he said in the 30-minute emotional interview during which he broke down in tears at one point. (Associated Press)

06-12-2019
Syria Conflict

Saudi Arabia has said it will carry out urgent reprisals as it accused Iran of being behind a late-night cruise missile attack by Houthi rebel fighters on a Saudi international airport that injured 26 people.

Saudi Arabia has said it will carry out urgent reprisals as it accused Iran of being behind a late-night cruise missile attack by Houthi rebel fighters on a Saudi international airport that injured 26 people. The Saudi foreign ministry said the Command of Joint Forces of the Coalition promised it “will take urgent and timely measures to deter these Iranian-backed terrorist Houthi militias”. The attack on Abha airport was condemned across the Middle East and by the US defence department. The Saudi-backed Yemeni government, which has been fighting a four-year civil war against the Houthi rebels, claimed the missile directed at the airport had been supplied by Iran, even claiming Iranian experts were present at the missile’s launch. (The Guardian)

06-11-2019
Human Rights

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Monday cited "moral principles" when asked why Iran executes homosexuals for their sexual orientation, as he also attacked the US and Israel for "violating human rights."

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Monday cited "moral principles" when asked why Iran executes homosexuals for their sexual orientation, as he also attacked the US and Israel for "violating human rights." At a press conference in the Iranian capital with his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, Zarif was asked by Bild reporter Paul Ronzheimer about the death penalty for gay people in the Middle Eastern country. "Our society has moral principles, and according to these principles we live," Zarif responded. "These are moral principles regarding the behavior of people in general. And that's because the law is upheld and you abide by laws." (Business Insider)

06-10-2019
Military

Iran said that it had unveiled a new domestically produced air defense system, called the Khordad 15 and inaugurated by Defense Minister Amir Hatami.

Iran said Sunday that it had unveiled a new domestically produced air defense system, called the Khordad 15 and inaugurated by Defense Minister Amir Hatami. It is named for a protest in 1963 against the arrest of Ayatollah Khomeini. This is the latest in a series of local Iranian military endeavors, including new ships, missiles and drones that the country boasts to have built. The new defense system supposedly can intercept up to six “incoming hostile targets simultaneously,” according to Iranian state media. Hatami said the system can detect targets up to 85 km. away and hit them at distances up to 45 km. It uses a Sayyad 3 missile, Press TV reported. According to Tasnim News, it is under the command of Alireza Sabahifard, head of Iran’s air defense systems. Iran previously was using a system linked to the S-200, which is antiquated but which Iran upgraded in 2013. (Jerusalem Post)

06-10-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, warned the U.S. that it “cannot expect to stay safe” after launching what he described as an economic war against Tehran, taking a hard-line stance amid a visit by Germany’s top diplomat.

Iran’s foreign minister warned the U.S. on Monday that it “cannot expect to stay safe” after launching what he described as an economic war against Tehran, taking a hard-line stance amid a visit by Germany’s top diplomat seeking to defuse tensions. A stern-faced Mohammad Javad Zarif offered a series of threats over the ongoing tensions gripping the Persian Gulf. The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s decision over a year ago to withdraw America from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Trump also reinstated tough sanctions on Iran, targeting its oil sector. “Mr. Trump himself has announced that the U.S. has launched an economic war against Iran,” Zarif said. “The only solution for reducing tensions in this region is stopping that economic war.” Zarif also warned: “Whoever starts a war with us will not be the one who finishes it.” (Associated Press)

06-10-2019
Nuclear Program

International inspectors said on Monday that Iran was ramping up its production of nuclear fuel, following through on a threat to begin walking away from restrictions agreed to in a 2015 nuclear accord that President Trump has abandoned.

International inspectors said on Monday that Iran was ramping up its production of nuclear fuel, following through on a threat to begin walking away from restrictions agreed to in a 2015 nuclear accord that President Trump has abandoned. The announcement of Iran’s actions came from Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is responsible for verifying Iran’s compliance with its obligations under the 2015 deal negotiated by the Obama administration. “Yes, production rate is increasing,” he said at a news conference in Vienna, in response to a question about whether Iran was enforcing orders President Hassan Rouhani issued last month. The fuel in question is low-enriched uranium, used in nuclear power plants. It would have to be further enriched to be used in a weapon. (New York Times)

06-05-2019
Nuclear Program

A former deputy head of the UN’s atomic watchdog, Olli Heinonen, said that Iran is capable of producing enough enriched uranium a nuclear bomb in six to eight months.

A former deputy head of the UN’s atomic watchdog said Wednesday that Iran is capable of producing enough enriched uranium a nuclear bomb in six to eight months. In an interview with Israel’s Army Radio, Olli Heinonen said that Israel and the Gulf states “have a reason to worry.” Heinonen said that despite assertions to the contrary by the current leadership of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, which he left in 2010, Tehran has not been adhering to the 2015 nuclear deal. “Iran is actually weaponizing uranium enrichment without making a weapon,” he claimed. (Times of Israel)

06-05-2019
Extremism

Iran’s supreme leader accused Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries of betraying the Palestinians by cooperating with the U.S. and Israel.

Iran’s supreme leader accused Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries of betraying the Palestinians by cooperating with the U.S. and Israel, in an attempt to rally regional supporters and raise the stakes for the Trump administration’s long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday the Arab countries were committing “a big treason to the Islamic world” by supporting the U.S.’s so-called deal of the century. His remarks were an attempt to place Iran at the helm of the Palestinian cause, an emotive issue that continues to resonate across the Middle East, as part of Tehran’s bid for regional leadership and amid growing tensions with Washington and Arab rivals. (Wall Street Journal)

06-03-2019
Human Rights

An Iranian lawyer, Amir Salar Davoudi, has been jailed for 30 years after setting up a channel on the popular social media platform Telegram, highlighting human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic.

An Iranian lawyer has been jailed for 30 years after setting up a channel on the popular social media platform Telegram, highlighting human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic. Amir Salar Davoudi was convicted by a revolutionary court for “propaganda against the state” and “insulting officials” and is set to be flogged 111 times. According to his lawyer Vahid Farahani, Davoudi was also accused of “collaborating with an enemy state” after giving an interview to Voice of America Persian-language television. (VOA)

06-02-2019
Anti-Americanism

Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top military adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has threatened that U.S. military personnel and warships in the region are within the range of Iranian missiles.

Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top military adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has threatened that U.S. military personnel and warships in the region are within the range of Iranian missiles. … Rahim Safavi, a former commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), who is currently Khamenei's top military adviser, told IRGC-linked Fars news agency on Sunday that "The United States has more than 25 military bases in the region where over 20,000 U.S. military personnel are based."

06-01-2019
Anti-Americanism

Hezbollah's leader warned the United States against striking Iran, saying if it does "the entire region will burn."

Hezbollah's leader warned the United States against striking Iran, saying if it does "the entire region will burn." US President Donald Trump "knows that when the region is on fire, a barrel of oil will be $200 or $300," Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group, said Friday during a televised speech. "The US knows well that any war on Iran will not remain confined to Iran's borders. The entire region will burn, leading to all US forces and interests in the region to be annihilated." (CNN)

05-30-2019
Terrorism

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar thanked Iran for providing his terror group the rockets it used to strike deep into Israel and warned the Jewish state that Tel Aviv would be struck again in response to any offensive against the Gaza Strip.

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar on Thursday thanked Iran for providing his terror group the rockets it used to strike deep into Israel and warned the Jewish state that Tel Aviv would be struck again in response to any offensive against the Gaza Strip. “Iran provided us with rockets, and we surprised the world when our resistance targeted Beersheba,” Sinwar said in a live TV address, referring to the weekend of violence at the beginning of the month, during which Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired nearly 700 rockets at Israel. “Had it not been for Iran, the resistance in Palestine would not have possessed its current capabilities,” Sinwar said. (Times of Israel)

05-29-2019
Anti-Americanism

A network of fake social media accounts impersonated political candidates and journalists to spread messages in support of Iran and against U.S. President Donald Trump around the 2018 congressional elections, cybersecurity firm FireEye said.

A network of fake social media accounts impersonated political candidates and journalists to spread messages in support of Iran and against U.S. President Donald Trump around the 2018 congressional elections, cybersecurity firm FireEye said on Tuesday. The findings show how unidentified, possibly government-backed, groups could manipulate social media platforms to promote stories and other content that can influence the opinions of American voters, the researchers said. This particular operation was largely focused on promoting “anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, and pro-Palestinian themes,” according to the report by FireEye. (Reuters)

05-25-2019
Syria Conflict

American military officials said Friday that Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is directly responsible for attacks on tankers off the United Arab Emirates earlier this month.

American military officials said Friday that Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is directly responsible for attacks on tankers off the United Arab Emirates earlier this month. The officials said the attacks were part of a “campaign” by the Iranian regime that prompted the U.S. to deploy additional troops to the Middle East. “The attack against the shipping in Fujairah we attribute it to the IRGC,” said Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff. He added that the Pentagon attributed limpet mines used in the attack to the IRGC. He declined to describe “the means of delivery” of the mines. (Fox News)

05-23-2019
Politics

Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has openly shrugged off responsibility for the nuclear agreement Iran concluded with world powers in 2015.

Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has openly shrugged off responsibility for the nuclear agreement Iran concluded with world powers in 2015. Khamenei, who was speaking to hand-picked representatives of Iranian students on Wednesday, May 22, expressed his dissatisfaction with the way President Hassan Rouhani and his team handled the nuclear deal also known as JCPOA. He insisted that "I did not believe in the way the JCPOA was done, and I have made this clear to the president and the foreign minister on many occasions." Referring to a letter he sent to President Rouhani on October 21, 2015, Khamenei noted, "Read my letter regarding the JCPOA and the conditions set for its ratification. But, if these conditions were not met, it is not the Leader’s responsibility to intervene." (Radio Farda)

05-23-2019
Syria Conflict

New satellite images indicate Iran is building a border crossing at the Syrian-Iraqi border, which would open up a coveted land route from Iran to Lebanon, according to Western intelligence sources.

New satellite images indicate Iran is building a border crossing at the Syrian-Iraqi border, which would open up a coveted land route from Iran to Lebanon, according to Western intelligence sources. The images, obtained exclusively by Fox News and captured earlier this week, show a new construction in the Albukamal Al-Qaim crossing. The area is under the control of Pro-Iranian Shiite militias. Last summer, Iran increased its presence in the area. According to analysts for ISI, which captures satellite data, the existing border crossing is still closed and destroyed, and the Iranians have put a lot of effort and resources into building the new one. The border crossing would enable Iran to maintain land access in Syria, Beirut and the Mediterranean Sea. Regional and western sources said the Iranians are planning to use this new route for smuggling operations, including trafficking weapons and oil, to avoid the looming U.S. sanctions. Without Syrian or Iraqi supervision, Iran and its allies would have an unprecedented advantage in transferring whatever they wish, experts say. (Fox News)

05-22-2019
Extremism

Iran’s youth will witness the demise of Israel and American civilization, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in comments published on his official website.

Iran’s youth will witness the demise of Israel and American civilization, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday in comments published on his official website. “You young people should be assured that you will witness the demise of the enemies of humanity, meaning the degenerate American civilization, and the demise of Israel,” Khamenei said in a meeting with students. He gave no further details. (Reuters)

05-21-2019
Syria Conflict

Air defense crews raced to action in the southern Saudi Arabian city of Najran Tuesday night to intercept an attack from Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels as tensions remain high between Tehran and the United States.

Air defense crews raced to action in the southern Saudi Arabian city of Najran Tuesday night to intercept an attack from Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels as tensions remain high between Tehran and the United States. The attack on Najran, about 10 miles north of the Saudi border with Yemen, was carried out by one Qasef K-2 drone armed with an explosive warhead and targeted a Saudi airport and military facility, the Houthi news outlet Al Masirah said. The broadcaster added that the drone struck an "arms depot," causing a fire. Najran has repeatedly been targeted by the Houthis since the Saudi-led war in Yemen began four years ago. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are leading a Western-backed coalition of Sunni Muslim states seeking to restore the internationally recognized government ousted from power in Yemen by the Houthis in late 2014. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. (ABC News)

05-20-2019
Syria Conflict

A rocket hit the Green Zone in Baghdad, home to Iraqi government offices and those of other foreign governments, where tensions were already high amid a standoff with Iran.

A rocket hit the Green Zone in Baghdad on Sunday night, home to Iraqi government offices and those of other foreign governments, where tensions were already high amid a standoff with Iran. No one was hurt, said Gen. Yahya Rasool of the Baghdad Joint Command, which includes American and Iraqi forces. He confirmed that a Katyusha rocket had landed in the heavily fortified zone and said it had been fired from across the Tigris River. The American Embassy said that there was no damage to American facilities and that no one had claimed responsibility. (New York Times)

05-20-2019
Syria Conflict

Saudi Arabia said that it had intercepted two missiles in Mecca province fired by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis, who earlier denied having targeted Islam’s holiest site.

Saudi Arabia said on Monday that it had intercepted two missiles in Mecca province fired by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis, who earlier denied having targeted Islam’s holiest site. The foiled strike comes at a time of heightened tensions between Tehran and Gulf Arab states and a roughly four-year conflict in Yemen largely seen as a proxy war between the two sides. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are leading a Western-backed coalition of Sunni Muslim states that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognized government ousted from power in Sanaa by the Houthis in late 2014. A Saudi coalition spokesman said, “Royal Saudi Defence Forces spotted aerial targets flying through restricted areas in the provinces of Jeddah and Taif and dealt with them as required by the situation,” according to Saudi’s state news agency SPA. (Reuters)

05-20-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran is ramping up its uranium output, a provocative step that threatens to further inflame simmering tensions with the United States and deepen regional conflict following a series of dangerous escalations in the Middle East.

Iran is ramping up its uranium output, a provocative step that threatens to further inflame simmering tensions with the United States and deepen regional conflict following a series of dangerous escalations in the Middle East. Iranian production of low-enriched uranium has recently increased fourfold, putting the nation on a path to exceed limits on nuclear materials set out in a 2015 agreement with world powers, a spokesperson for Iran’s atomic energy agency told Iranian news outlets on Monday. The supplies in question are not enriched to a level suitable for weapons development. Still, the increased output threatens to further erode the Iran nuclear deal and destabilize a region that provides much of the world’s energy supply. (CNBC)

05-17-2019
Syria Conflict

A U.S. assessment determined it is "highly likely" that Iran was behind the attacks on four tankers last weekend, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the findings.

A U.S. assessment determined it is "highly likely" that Iran was behind the attacks on four tankers last weekend, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the findings. The U.S. has evidence, including photos of the damage and forensics, tying Iran or its proxies to the Sunday attacks off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, one of the officials said. The four ships — two from Saudi Arabia and one each from the UAE and Norway — were struck with what is now believed to be explosive charges, the officials said. (NBC News)

05-17-2019
Anti-Americanism

A top Republican lawmaker said that the threat from Iran picked up by U.S. intelligence was very specific and involved the possible kidnapping and killing of American soldiers.

A top Republican lawmaker said Friday that the threat from Iran picked up by U.S. intelligence – which sparked a U.S. military deployment to the Middle East and heightened tensions across the region – was very specific and involved the possible kidnapping and killing of American soldiers. "To the extent I can discuss it, it was human intelligence," Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told USA TODAY on Friday. He was referring to intelligence information that prompted the Pentagon to deploy an aircraft carrier, along with B-52 bombers and other military forces, to the Middle East. Trump administration officials said the move was made to counter what they described as credible threats from Iran to U.S. forces in the region. (USA Today)

05-16-2019
Terrorism

A former Uggs salesman with a rocky marriage has been found guilty of working as a “sleeper” agent for an arm of Hezbollah while living in the Bronx — helping the terror group prepare for attacks on New York City.

A former Uggs salesman with a rocky marriage has been found guilty of working as a “sleeper” agent for an arm of Hezbollah while living in the Bronx — helping the terror group prepare for attacks on New York City. After less than a day of deliberations, a Manhattan federal jury found Bronx resident Ali Kourani, 34, guilty on eight counts that included providing support to Hezbollah, which carries up to life in prison. Kourani, looking business casual in a rumpled white dress shirt and dark pants, sat motionless as the jury of eight women and four men rendered its verdict following a weeklong trial. He was hauled in on the charges in 2017 after he spilled his guts to the feds with hopes of becoming an informant — rather than a convicted felon facing a potential life sentence. (New York Post)

05-16-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran’s most prominent military leader, Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, has recently met Iraqi militias in Baghdad and told them to “prepare for proxy war”, the Guardian has learned.

Iran’s most prominent military leader has recently met Iraqi militias in Baghdad and told them to “prepare for proxy war”, the Guardian has learned. Two senior intelligence sources said that Qassem Suleimani, leader of Iran’s powerful Quds force, summoned the militias under Tehran’s influence three weeks ago, amid a heightened state of tension in the region. The move to mobilise Iran’s regional allies is understood to have triggered fears in the US that Washington’s interests in the Middle East are facing a pressing threat. The UK raised its threat levels for British troops in Iraq on Thursday. While Suleimani has met regularly with leaders of Iraq’s myriad Shia groups over the past five years, the nature and tone of this gathering was different. “It wasn’t quite a call to arms, but it wasn’t far off,” one source said. (The Guardian)

05-15-2019
Extremism

Iran’s military commanders said the Islamic Republic was on the verge of an all-out confrontation with its enemies and was ready to counter any threat.

Iran’s military commanders said on Wednesday the Islamic Republic was on the verge of an all-out confrontation with its enemies and was ready to counter any threat. “Iran has the highest level of defense-military preparedness to confront any type of threat and excessive demands,” Defence Minister Amir Hatami was quoted as saying by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). He said Iran would defeat an American and Israeli alliance. … The commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said: “We are on the cusp of a full-scale confrontation with the enemy,” the Fars news agency reported. (Reuters)

05-14-2019
Syria Conflict

Yemen’s Houthi rebels carried out multiple drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities on Tuesday, a day after Saudi Arabia said two of its oil tankers had been damaged in an act of sabotage, ratcheting up tensions in the region.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels carried out multiple drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities on Tuesday, a day after Saudi Arabia said two of its oil tankers had been damaged in an act of sabotage, ratcheting up tensions in the region. A Houthi spokesman, Mohammed Abdul Salam, claimed responsibility for the drone strikes on Twitter, saying that they were a response to Saudi “aggression” and “genocide” in Yemen. Although the Houthis are backed by Iran, it was unclear whether the attacks were related to increasing tensions between Iran and the United States and its allies in the Persian Gulf. (New York Times)

05-13-2019
Syria Conflict

An initial U.S. assessment indicated Iran likely was behind the attack on two Saudi Arabian oil tankers and two other vessels damaged over the weekend near the Strait of Hormuz.

An initial U.S. assessment indicated Iran likely was behind the attack on two Saudi Arabian oil tankers and two other vessels damaged over the weekend near the Strait of Hormuz, a U.S. official said, a finding that, if confirmed, would further inflame military tensions in the Persian Gulf. The assessment, while not conclusive, was the first suggestion by any nation that Iran was responsible for the attack and comes after a series of U.S. warnings against aggression by Iran or its allies and proxies against military or commercial vessels in the region. The U.S. official, who declined to be identified, didn’t offer details about what led to the assessment or its implications for a possible U.S. response. The U.S. has said in the past week that it was sending an aircraft carrier, an amphibious assault ship, a bomber task force and an antimissile system to the region after it alleged intelligence showed Iran posed a threat to its troops. (Wall Street Journal)

05-09-2019
Syria Conflict

The U.S. decision to surge additional military forces into the Middle East was based on intelligence that the Iranian regime has told some of its proxy forces and surrogates that they can now go after American military personnel and assets in the region.

The U.S. decision to surge additional military forces into the Middle East was based in part on intelligence that the Iranian regime has told some of its proxy forces and surrogates that they can now go after American military personnel and assets in the region, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence. The intelligence shows that an Iranian official discussed activating Iranian-backed groups to target Americans, but did not mention targeting the militaries of other nations, the officials said. Among the specific threats the U.S. military is now tracking, officials say, are possible missile attacks by Iranian dhows, or small ships, in the Persian Gulf; attacks in Iraq by Iranian-trained Shiite militia groups; and attacks against U.S. ships by the Houthi rebels in Yemen. (NBC News)

05-08-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran threatened to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels in 60 days if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran threatened Wednesday to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels in 60 days if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its 2015 nuclear deal, raising regional tensions as a U.S. aircraft carrier and bombers headed to the Middle East to confront Tehran. A televised address by President Hassan Rouhani, who once pledged that the landmark deal would draw Iran closer to the West, saw the cleric instead pressure Europe to shield Tehran from the sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the agreement exactly a year earlier. Rouhani’s threats put the world on notice that it cannot continue to rely on Iran complying with terms of the unraveling deal in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, a U.S. campaign of sanctions hammering Iran’s anemic economy and blocking its sale of oil on the global market is only making life worse, putting further pressure on both its Shiite theocracy and its 80 million people. (Associated Press)

05-02-2019
Terrorism

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed Thursday his Iran-backed terror group would “annihilate and destroy” the Israeli military if the latter entered Lebanon in a future war.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed Thursday his Iran-backed terror group would “annihilate and destroy” the Israeli military if the latter entered Lebanon in a future war. “Israel wants a war? Let it go to war. The Israeli units and brigades that dare to enter southern Lebanon will be annihilated and destroyed on live television before the whole world,” he said, according to multiple media reports in Israel and Lebanon. The taunts are typical of the Lebanese terror group leader, whose organization faced its last war with Israel in 2006. (Times of Israel)

05-02-2019
Human Rights

The US and human rights groups have expressed outrage over reports that Iran has executed two 17-year-old boys, who were 15 when they were convicted in 2017 on multiple rape charges, after what activists said was an unfair trial.

The US and human rights groups have expressed outrage over reports that Iran has executed two 17-year-old boys. Mehdi Sohrabifar and Amin Sedaghat were 15 when they were convicted in 2017 on multiple rape charges, after what activists said was an unfair trial. They are believed to have been moved from a juvenile facility to a prison a day before their deaths last Thursday. Iranian authorities reportedly did not inform the boys' families or lawyers that they had been sentenced to death. (BBC)

05-02-2019
Human Rights

Iranian authorities violently dispersed gatherings of independent Iranian labor organizations and arrested dozens of activists who were protesting in association with International Workers’ Day (May Day).

Iranian authorities violently dispersed gatherings of independent Iranian labor organizations and arrested dozens of activists who were protesting in association with International Workers’ Day (May Day). According to the labor organizations involved, dozens of people have been arrested so far. Protesters gathered May 1 in front of Iran’s parliament building, where a number of well-known protesters — including Reza Shahabi, Kayvan Samimi, Hassan Saedi, Vahid Fereydouni and Mohammad Ali Eslaghi — were arrested. Teachers, retirees and students also joined the protests. According to fliers calling for the protests, some of the issues were “instability in the labor force, low and delayed wages, privatization, unsuccessful businesses, and pressure on independent unions and activists.” A previous labor protest April 26 in Tehran was also violently dispersed by security forces and led to the arrests of activists and organizers. While most of the individuals who were arrested from that protest were released the same day, three individuals remain in custody. (Al-Monitor)

04-30-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani signed a bill into law declaring all U.S. forces in the Middle East terrorists and calling the U.S. government a sponsor of terrorism.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani signed a bill into law on Tuesday declaring all U.S. forces in the Middle East terrorists and calling the U.S. government a sponsor of terrorism. The bill was passed by parliament last week in retaliation for President Donald Trump's decision this month to designate Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards a foreign terrorist organization. It was not clear what the impact of the new Iranian law might have on U.S. forces or their Middle East operations. (VOA)

04-23-2019
Military

Iran will increase naval ties with China in the Northern Indian Ocean, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi told his Chinese counterpart, saying it would accelerate the withdrawal of other countries from the region.

Iran will increase naval ties with China in the Northern Indian Ocean, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi told his Chinese counterpart, saying it would accelerate the withdrawal of other countries from the region. “Given the strategic geopolitical situation (of both states), today, we are witnessing a leap in marine civilization in the Pacific Ocean by China and Northern Indian Ocean by Islamic Iran, which will force the arrogant powers to leave our naval zones and the regional powers will certainly fill the security vacuum and there will be no need to foreigners’ presence,” Rear Admiral Khanzadi was quoted as saying in China on Monday, by Iran’s Fars News. Before leaving Tehran, Khanzadi – who is in China to attend the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy – said that the main goal of the trip was to develop interaction and contact between the two navies. (Jerusalem Post)

04-18-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on countries across the Middle East to unite against the United States during an address at an Army Day parade in Tehran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on countries across the Middle East to unite against the United States during an address at an Army Day parade in Tehran. Speaking at a ceremony on Thursday, Rouhani also urged neighbouring countries to "drive back Zionism", saying the US and its ally Israel were the root cause of the region's problems. He added that Iran's armed forces were not a threat against any regional country. (Al Jazeera)

04-15-2019
Syria Conflict

Satellite images released by the Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International (ISI) showed the complete destruction of a possible Iranian surface-to-surface missile factory in Syria’s Masyaf District, allegedly struck by Israel.

Satellite images released by the Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International (ISI) on Sunday showed the complete destruction of a possible Iranian surface-to-surface missile factory in Syria’s Masyaf District, allegedly struck by Israel on Saturday. “The main industrial structures were completely destroyed, including the main hangar and the adjacent three production hangers and buildings. The rest of the structures were affected and damaged by the blast,” ISI said, adding that they “assess that all the elements and/or equip-ment which were inside are completely destroyed as well.” According to ISI, “if the bombed site was indeed a missile factory, it could allow for the produc-tion and assembly of different SSM [surface-to-surface missile] elements or for improving the accuracy of missiles.” (Jerusalem Post)

04-10-2019
Nuclear Program

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has threatened the U.S. with unveiling more advanced centrifuges after Washington designated Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a “terrorist organization”.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has threatened the U.S. with unveiling more advanced centrifuges after Washington designated Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a “terrorist organization”. Speaking on April 9 at the ceremony for 13th National Day of Nuclear Technology in Iran, Rouhani addressed Washington, saying, "You were afraid of IR1 centrifuges, today we unveiled IR6, and if you continue to walk down this road, you will see cascades of IR8 in the near future." Rouhani went even further, highlighting the threat by praising Tehran's missile power. "If you want to limit Iran’s military power, you know that we have developed missiles since last year that you wouldn’t even imagine," he said. (Radio Farda)

04-09-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iranian lawmakers dressed in paramilitary uniforms chanted “Death to America” as they convened for an open session of parliament after the White House designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist organization.

Iranian lawmakers dressed in paramilitary uniforms chanted “Death to America” as they convened Tuesday for an open session of parliament after the White House designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist organization. President Hassan Rouhani declared that the force’s popularity would only surge in the wake of the designation, saying guard members would be dearer “than any other time in the hearts of Iranian nation.” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised the guard and said America’s “evil designs would not harm” the force. (Associated Press)

04-04-2019
Human Rights

Exiled Iranian opposition activists say Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has fired on protesters who tried to stop it from diverting floodwaters in a southwestern town, resulting in a protester's death.

Exiled Iranian opposition activists say Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has fired on protesters who tried to stop it from diverting floodwaters in a southwestern town, resulting in a protester's death. The activists said the protester died after being shot by IRGC forces in Wednesday's predawn confrontation in the Dasht-e-Azadegan district of Khuzestan province. They said minority Iranian Arab residents of the area, also known as Ahwazis, were trying to stop the IRGC from destroying a dyke and diverting floodwaters into their farmland. The Iran National Council for Free Elections opposition group said the IRCG forces wanted to divert floodwaters to prevent them from entering IRCG-controlled oil installations in the neighboring town of Susangerd. In a Wednesday Instagram post, the group said one protester was killed and several were wounded by IRGC fire. (VOA)

04-04-2019
Nuclear Program

The United Nations’ atomic agency has heeded calls by the U.S. and Israel to inspect a site that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed last fall was housing Iranian nuclear equipment and material.

The United Nations’ atomic agency has heeded calls by the U.S. and Israel to inspect a site that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed last fall was housing Iranian nuclear equipment and material, according to officials familiar with the agency’s work. But the visit may have come too late to yield proof of the claims. The International Atomic Energy Agency first sent a team of inspectors to the site, which is in Tehran, in February, according to the officials. The agency’s staff took a series of environmental samples that are currently being analyzed, they said. It isn’t clear when the IAEA first asked for access to the site. The tests theoretically could show the presence of nuclear material at the site. But experts say that given the amount of time that has elapsed and the likely removal of equipment, it will be hard to clearly identify whether the Israeli claims are true. (Wall Street Journal)

04-03-2019
Terrorism

Britain’s Sky News says U.S.-based cybersecurity experts have found that a group linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has carried out two cyberattacks on British institutions in recent years.

Britain’s Sky News says U.S.-based cybersecurity experts have found that a group linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has carried out two cyberattacks on British institutions in recent years. A Wednesday report by the British news agency said the California-based cyber experts, whom it did not identify, determined that a suspected IRGC-linked group was behind a previously undisclosed attack on British public and private entities on Dec. 23, 2018, and a previously reported attack on the British parliament’s email network on June 23, 2017. Sky News said it passed the California cyber experts’ findings to British security services, who declined to publicly confirm Iran’s involvement in the two incidents. But the London-based news agency, whose report was cited by several other British news outlets, said four unnamed “security sources” believed the allegations of Iranian involvement to be accurate. (VOA)

03-27-2019
Terrorism

Microsoft took control of 99 websites that it said Iranian hackers had used to try to steal sensitive information from targets in the United States, according to unsealed court documents.

Microsoft took control of 99 websites that it said Iranian hackers had used to try to steal sensitive information from targets in the United States, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday. By taking over the sites, Microsoft can stop future cyberattacks and monitor how previously infected computers were compromised, the company said. The hackers “specifically directed” their attacks on people in Washington, Microsoft said in the filing. The hacking group typically has targeted the personal email accounts of people working in both the public and private sectors, including dissidents and workers in government agencies, Microsoft said in court documents. (New York Times)

03-26-2019
Syria Conflict

The U.S. blacklisted members of what officials said was a “vast network” operating in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates that helped Iran exchange over $1 billion in currency to finance Iranian military operations throughout the region.

The U.S. blacklisted members of what officials said was a “vast network” operating in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates that helped Iran exchange over $1 billion in currency to finance Iranian military operations throughout the region. The Treasury Department said on Tuesday that more than two dozen sanctioned currency-exchange houses, trading companies and officials helped Iran’s military exchange Iranian rials into euros and U.S. dollars. The U.S. sanctions highlight a financing strategy that intelligence analysts say is being widely employed to help Iran counter the Trump administration’s pressure campaign against Tehran. (Wall Street Journal)

03-26-2019
Syria Conflict

In Islamic State’s former eastern Syrian stronghold, the Islamic Republic of Iran is parlaying its military and economic might into a lasting foothold.

In Islamic State’s former eastern Syrian stronghold, the Islamic Republic of Iran is parlaying its military and economic might into a lasting foothold. On the heels of an Iranian military intervention that has helped bring President Bashar al-Assad to the edge of victory in Syria’s eight-year-long war, Tehran is moving to cement its long-term influence in Syria by cultivating goodwill and winning converts to the Shiite Muslim sect. To Syrians battered by war, Iran is offering cash, food, Iranian ID cards, public services and free education. Iran’s hearts-and-minds campaign undermines efforts by the U.S., Israel and Arab states to roll back Tehran’s influence and force it out of Syria. (Wall Street Journal)

03-21-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran is determined to boost its defense capabilities despite mounting pressure from the United States and its allies to curb its ballistic missile program, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.

Iran is determined to boost its defense capabilities despite mounting pressure from the United States and its allies to curb its ballistic missile program, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday. “We need to take Iran to a point that enemy understand that they cannot threaten Iran ... America’s sanctions will make Iran self-sufficient,” Khamenei said in a speech broadcast live on state TV. “They have always stabbed Iran in the back ... The Western countries have proved they cannot be trusted,” he said in the speech in the holy Shi’ite city of Mashhad. “This mechanism set by the Europeans is like a bitter joke,” Khamenei said, referring to a channel opened by the European signatories of the deal for non-dollar trade with Iran to get around the U.S. sanction. (Reuters)

03-18-2019
Extremism

Iran’s president urged Iranians to put a curse on the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, reiterating his long-standing charge that the U.S. and its allies are responsible for the country’s ailing economy.

Iran’s president on Monday urged Iranians to put a curse on the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, reiterating his long-standing charge that the U.S. and its allies are responsible for the country’s ailing economy. President Hassan Rouhani’s remarks were meant to deflect criticism of his administration’s performance amid a spiraling economy after President Donald Trump last year pulled America out of the nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran, targeting Iran’s vital oil sector. “Put all your curses on those who created the current situation,” Rouhani urged Iranians, adding that “the United States, the Zionists” and Saudi Arabia were to blame. He didn’t say what kind of curses the Iranians should invoke. (AP)

03-18-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran and Syria demanded the United States withdraw its troops from Syria, and the Damascus government threatened U.S.-backed Kurdish forces with military defeat if they did not agree a return of state authority.

Iran and Syria on Monday demanded the United States withdraw its troops from Syria, and the Damascus government threatened U.S.-backed Kurdish forces with military defeat if they did not agree a return of state authority. The Iranian and Syrian military chiefs were speaking after a meeting in Damascus that also included their Iraqi counterpart, who gave a political boost to President Bashar al-Assad and Tehran by announcing the Syrian border would soon be reopened. The United States said last month it would keep some forces in Syria, reversing course from an earlier decision to pull them all out once Islamic State is militarily defeated. (Reuters)

03-14-2019
Military

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency says the country’s Revolutionary Guard is holding a drill near the strategic Strait of Hormuz to test dozens of Iranian-made drones, including armed drones.

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency says the country’s Revolutionary Guard is holding a drill near the strategic Strait of Hormuz to test dozens of Iranian-made drones, including armed drones. Thursday’s report says it’s the first time such a high number of offensive drones are being used in a drill. It quotes Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh of the Guard’s aerospace division as saying Iran has the region’s biggest offensive drone fleet. It says the drones flew for about 1,000 kilometers, or 620 miles, then hit their targets. (Associated Press)

03-14-2019
Nuclear Program

New evidence disclosed in Iran’s secret nuclear files taken by the Mossad show that its underground Fordow nuclear facility is older than it has admitted.

New evidence disclosed in Iran’s secret nuclear files taken by the Mossad show that its underground Fordow nuclear facility is older than it has admitted, according to a think-tank report. This discovery could be significant, says the Institute for Science and International Security, because it shows that Iran is still lying to the international community about a nuclear facility that has no reasonable use other than military. The report says that photographs and documents it reviewed from the materials taken from Iran in January 2018 by the Mossad date the facility to as much as five years earlier than the Islamic Republic has led the world to believe. (Jerusalem Post)

03-14-2019
Human Rights

Lawyers representing the family of an American citizen from San Diego detained in Iran said that the Navy veteran has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Lawyers representing the family of an American citizen from San Diego detained in Iran said Thursday that the Navy veteran has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and for disclosing private information by posting a photo on Instagram of a woman he was visiting. Michael White, 46, was detained in Mashhad, a religious city in eastern Iran, last July after traveling there to visit the woman. It was his third time visiting her in the Islamic Republic, said Jonathan Franks, a spokesman for his family. White is being held in Vakilabad Prison, which is known for its executions of drug traffickers. (Los Angeles Times)

03-13-2019
Human Rights

Organizers of a fashion show in Iran were charged after videos of the event, which featured fantasy-inspired dresses and women not wearing hijabs, surfaced on social media.

Organisers of a fashion show in Iran were charged after videos of the event, which featured fantasy-inspired dresses and women not wearing hijabs, surfaced on social media. The outfits were considered by the public prosecutor to have strayed too far from traditional Islamic clothing. An Iranian fashion label organised a private show in the high-end salon Ayneh Divan on March 1 in Lavasan, an affluent suburb of Tehran, sending women down the runway without hijabs, a violation of the country’s strict laws mandating that women appear in public with headscarves. Some were also arrayed in elaborate, fantasy-inspired outfits, which, while not a justifiable crime, is nevertheless seen as promoting a Western lifestyle and not tolerated by conservatives. (France 24)

03-12-2019
Military

The United Nations is investigating two North Korean missile and arms companies suspected of operating in Iran in possible violation of international sanctions, according to a report by a U.N. panel of experts.

The United Nations is investigating two North Korean missile and arms companies suspected of operating in Iran in possible violation of international sanctions, according to a report by a U.N. panel of experts. The presidents of top North Korean regime arms firms, KOMID, which exports equipment for ballistic missiles and other weapons, and Green Pine, which sells conventional arms, recently traveled to Iran, according to air passenger documents cited by the report by the U.N. panel. A U.N. member state informed the panel that the two North Korean arms firms — which are both blacklisted by the United Nations — are “extremely active in Iran now,” Hugh Griffiths, coordinator of the U.N. panel assessing sanctions on North Korea, told NBC News in an exclusive television interview. (NBC News)

03-12-2019
Politics

Iran’s newly appointed head of all-powerful Judiciary has also been elected as deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts, which elects the Supreme Leader in Iran.

Iran’s newly appointed head of all-powerful Judiciary has also been elected as deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts, which elects the Supreme Leader in Iran. Ebrahim Raeesi (Raeisi) was elected on Monday with 43 votes out of 78 members present, defeating the former head of the Judiciary, ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani and Fazel Golpaygani, Mehr news agency reported on Tuesday. There have been rumors for months that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has been grooming Raeesi to succeed him. His recent appointment as chief judge reinforced those rumors. (Radio Farda)

03-12-2019
Military

A top Iranian military figure known for his shadowy role in Iran's foreign intervention in Iraq and Syria has received his country's highest military honor at a ceremony Monday alongside supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

A top Iranian military figure known for his shadowy role in Iran's foreign intervention in Iraq and Syria has received his country's highest military honor at a ceremony Monday alongside supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' expeditionary Quds Force, became the first Iranian general to receive the Order of the Zulfiqar since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew a West-sponsored monarchy. With the U.S. attempting to contain Tehran's growing influence across the region, Soleimani has been a persistent, popular symbol of Iran's footprint abroad. "He has time and time again exposed his life to the invasion of the enemy and he has done so in the way of God, for God and purely for the sake of God. And he has made a great endeavor," Khamenei said. "I hope that God the Exalted will reward and bless him, that He will help him live a blissful life and that he will make his end marked by martyrdom. (Newsweek)

03-12-2019
Human Rights

Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes, according to her family.

Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes, according to her family. Sotoudeh is well known for representing human rights defenders, dissidents and women who protested against the compulsory wearing of a headscarf in Iran. According to IRNA, Iran's state-owned news service, the human rights lawyer was convicted of "gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security" and for "insulting the Supreme Leader". A Facebook post by her husband Reza Khandan said the ruling sentenced her to 33 years and 148 lashes. He added that the punishment brings her prison time to 38 years. In 2016, she was sentenced in absentia to five years, according to Khandan. (CNN)

03-08-2019
Syria Conflict

Saudi Arabia’s air defense systems shot down a drone alleged to have “Iranian characteristics and specifications” over the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s air defense systems shot down a drone over the kingdom on Friday, the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen said, and it accused the country’s Houthi fighters of launching the aircraft and targeting civilians. Some civilians suffered light injuries from debris when the drone was shot down, coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said, according to Saudi state television. The aircraft had been heading toward residential areas in Abha, around 230 km (140 miles) north of the border with Yemen, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV said. An inspection of the wreckage showed the drone had “Iranian characteristics and specifications,” Maliki said. (Reuters)

03-06-2019
Terrorism

Cyberattacks linked to Iranian hackers have targeted thousands of people at more than 200 companies over the past two years, Microsoft Corp. said.

Cyberattacks linked to Iranian hackers have targeted thousands of people at more than 200 companies over the past two years, Microsoft Corp. said, part of a wave of computer intrusions from the country that researchers say has hit businesses and government entities around the globe. The campaign, the scope of which hadn’t previously been reported, stole corporate secrets and wiped data from computers. It caused damages estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars in lost productivity and affected oil-and-gas companies, heavy-machinery manufacturers and international conglomerates in more than a half-dozen countries including Saudi Arabia, Germany, the U.K., India and the U.S., according to researchers at Microsoft, which deployed incident-response teams to some of the affected companies. “These destructive attacks…are massively destabilizing events,” said John Lambert, the head of Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Center. Microsoft traced the attacks to a group it calls Holmium. It is one of several linked by other researchers over the past year to hackers in Iran, a country that many security researchers say aspires to join Russia and China as one of the world’s premier cyber powers. Some of Holmium’s hacking was done by a group that other security companies call APT33, Microsoft said. (Wall Street Journal)

03-06-2019
Politics

An Iranian cleric known for his role in condemning thousands of political prisoners to death in the 1980s will take leadership of Iran’s powerful judiciary this week, in a move that is expected to keep the post under the influence of hard-liners.

An Iranian cleric known for his role in condemning thousands of political prisoners to death in the 1980s will take leadership of Iran’s powerful judiciary this week, in a move that is expected to keep the post under the influence of hard-liners. Ebrahim Raisi is set to take oath as Iran’s new chief of judiciary on Friday, according to an Iranian lawmaker quoted in state media. He succeeds Sadegh Larijani, another conservative cleric, who served as chief justice for 10 years before being named in December as head of head of a council that advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Mr. Khamenei’s appointment of Mr. Raisi extends the hold of hard-liners and illustrates the enduring marginalization of reformists pushing for an overhaul of the judicial system and protection of human rights. (Wall Street Journal)

03-06-2019
Human Rights

A prominent human rights lawyer in Iran, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who defended protesters against the Islamic Republic’s mandatory headscarves for women has been convicted and faces years in prison, an activist group said.

A prominent human rights lawyer in Iran who defended protesters against the Islamic Republic’s mandatory headscarves for women has been convicted and faces years in prison, an activist group said Wednesday. The conviction of Nasrin Sotoudeh, who previously served three years in prison for her work, underlines the limits of challenging Iran’s theocracy as it faces economic pressure exacerbated by the U.S. pulling out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. It also highlights the limits of Iran’s civilian government as well, as the administration of President Hassan Rouhani and others have signaled an easing of their concern over the mandatory hijab. It shows “the insecurity the regime has to any peaceful challenge,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, which reported Sotoudeh’s conviction. “It knows a large segment of the country . are fed up with the hijab laws.” (Associated Press)

03-04-2019
Human Rights

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s judiciary charged a female equality activist with violating its national security because she sought to “normalize same-sex relations” in a country that imposes capital punishment for homosexuality.

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s judiciary charged a female equality activist with violating its national security because she sought to “normalize same-sex relations” in a country that imposes capital punishment for homosexuality. The Iranian lesbian and transgender network group, 6rang, wrote on its website in late February that Rezvaneh Mohammadi’s charges include “collusion against national security by normalizing same-sex relations.” This is the first time that an activist faces such an accusation in Iran. She may be sentenced up to five years imprisonment.” Volker Beck, a leading German expert and activist on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that “this case is not about homosexuality, it is about freedom.” (Jerusalem Post)

03-04-2019
Human Rights

Michael R. White, the U.S. Navy veteran imprisoned in Iran since July, was beaten after his arrest, has no money to hire a lawyer and still does not know what charges — if any — have been filed against him, his mother said.

Michael R. White, the Navy veteran imprisoned in Iran since July, was beaten after his arrest, has no money to hire a lawyer and still does not know what charges — if any — have been filed against him, his mother said Monday. Joanne White also said that her son, a former cancer patient, had been taken to a court at least twice and that his health was deteriorating. A family spokesman, Jonathan Franks, said a GoFundMe page had been started to raise funds for Mr. White’s legal representation in Iran. Ms. White learned of her son’s travails after diplomats from the Swiss Embassy in Tehran visited him on Feb. 6 at the prison where he has been held, in the northeast city of Mashhad. The Swiss Embassy represents American interests in Iran. (New York Times)

03-01-2019
Syria Conflict

A new report from the Syrian Republican Guard revealed that several of the casualties from the Israeli attack this month on the Al-Quneitra Governorate were, in fact, Iranian soldiers.

A new report from the Syrian Republican Guard revealed this week that several of the casualties from the Israeli attack this month on the Al-Quneitra Governorate were, in fact, Iranian soldiers. According to the Syrian Republican Guard, five of the recovered corpses from the Israeli attack on the military garrison in western Al-Quneitra were found to be the remains of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) personnel that were positioned near the border of the occupied Golan Heights. Thanks to DNA evidence, the Syrian military was able to confirm that the soldiers in western Al-Quneitra were from the IRGC; they have since begun the process of returning the bodies to Iran. While the DNA evidence helped confirm the identity of the soldiers, it also inadvertently revealed that the Iranian forces were still present along the border with the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. (Al-Masdar News)

02-28-2019
Extremism

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, has threatened to “break America, Israel and Saudi Arabia” and vowed that Tehran will “never lay down” its weapons.

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander has threatened to “break America, Israel and Saudi Arabia” and vowed that Tehran will “never lay down” its weapons. Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy head of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, reportedly made the threats during a speech on February 19 just days after a deadly suicide car bombing killed 27 members of the organization. “Our nation’s sword has been drawn out of its sheath. Our enemies should know that we will never let them be,” Salami said. “The Saud regime should know that it will not last,” he added. (Al-Arabiya)

02-28-2019
Terrorism

The Iranian-backed hackers who stole personal data on Australian lawmakers earlier this year are the same group that attacked the British Parliament in 2017.

The Iranian-backed hackers who stole personal data on Australian lawmakers earlier this year are the same group that attacked the British Parliament in 2017, according to new research by a cybersecurity firm that sheds light on Iran's campaign of cyberespionage against its adversaries. A report by Los Angeles-based Resecurity, obtained exclusively by NBC News, says the Feb. 8 hack of the Australian Parliament "is a part of a multi-year cyberespionage campaign" by an Iranian-backed hacking group they call Iridium. "This actor targets sensitive government, diplomatic and military resources" in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S., the firm says. (NBC News)

02-27-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the United States an untrustworthy and warmongering country on Wednesday, and urged neighboring Armenia to expand ties with Tehran despite U.S. pressures.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the United States an untrustworthy and warmongering country on Wednesday, and urged neighbouring Armenia to expand ties with Tehran despite U.S. pressures. Iran is struggling with the sanctions imposed by Washington after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers last year, calling it deeply flawed. “Americans are totally untrustworthy and they want sedition, corruption, disagreement and war everywhere. They are against Iran-Armenia relations,” Khamenei’s official website quoted him as saying during a meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Tehran. “We are committed to good relations with our neighbours, but U.S. officials like (national security adviser) John Bolton have no understanding of human issues and relations,” Khamenei said. Bolton takes a particularly hawkish view of Iran in the Trump administration. (Reuters)

02-26-2019
Terrorism

Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, has announced the development of a new accurate missile made with the help of Iran, which said it is capable of reaching Tel Aviv and Netanya in the center of Israel.

Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, has announced the development of a new accurate missile, which said it is capable of reaching Tel Aviv and Netanya in the center of Israel, threatening to turn Israeli cities into "hell" in any future confrontation. In a documentary broadcast on Iranian television, the Brigades’ military spokesman said that the missile was made with the help of Iran, adding that the first missile to be launched by the movement towards Tel Aviv “will be Iranian-made.” The group had fired Iranian-made missiles at Tel Aviv more than six years ago during the war that erupted in 2012. In the new documentary, Islamic Jihad said its engineers succeeded in redeveloping its rocket arsenal, which was destroyed in previous military confrontations. The movement warned that it would surprise Israel and respond to any future attack. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

02-25-2019
Terrorism

The Israeli military detected and blocked an attempt by Iran to infiltrate its missile warning system in 2017.

The Israeli military detected and blocked an attempt by Iran to infiltrate its missile warning system in 2017, preventing a potentially life-threatening situation in which Israeli citizens could no longer rely on the sirens that alert them to an incoming attack, a senior cyber defense official told the Bloomberg news outlet on Monday. The Iranian effort was first spotted in 2017 and, once its target was understood, the Israel Defense Forces worked to block the cyber attack and track the hackers, Brig. Gen. (res.) Noam Sha’ar, the outgoing head of the cyber defense division of the military’s Cyber Defense Directorate, told the website. (Times of Israel)

02-25-2019
Human Rights

A member of the Iranian Parliament (Majles) has disclosed that the country's Supreme National Security Council has banned the publication of news reports about water-related problems including shortage and misuse of resources.

A member of the Iranian Parliament (Majles) has disclosed that the country's Supreme National Security Council has banned the publication of news reports about water-related problems including shortage and misuse of resources. The disclosure appears to have happened inadvertently when the official news agency IRNA quoted Ardeshir Nourial, a lawmaker on Saturday February 23 as having said that officials in Isfahan Province, ignore government directives including the ban on publication of news reports on water shortage. Isfahan and its surrounding towns and villages have been the scene of protest demonstrations during the past year against government measures, including allocating the province's water to other areas. (Radio Farda)

02-25-2019
Syria Conflict

Syrian President Bashar Assad has made an unannounced trip to Iran, where he met with the supreme leader and other top officials to discuss the planned U.S. troop withdrawal and Turkey’s efforts to set up a buffer zone in northern Syria.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has made an unannounced trip to Iran, where he met with the supreme leader and other top officials to discuss the planned U.S. troop withdrawal and Turkey’s efforts to set up a buffer zone in northern Syria, state media reported Monday. Assad met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani on the rare trip abroad — his third since the civil war broke out in 2011. The other two trips were to Russia. Tehran has given the Syrian government billions of dollars in aid and sent Iran-backed fighters to battle alongside his forces — assistance that, along with Russian air power, has helped turn the tide in Assad’s favor. (Associated Press)

02-24-2019
Military

Iran successfully tested a cruise missile during naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz, state media reported, at a time of heightened tensions with the United States.

Iran successfully tested a cruise missile on Sunday during naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz, state media reported, at a time of heightened tensions with the United States. Tehran has in the past threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route at the mouth of the Gulf, in retaliation for any hostile U.S. action, including attempts to halt Iranian oil exports through sanctions. In August Washington said Iran had test-fired a short-range anti-ship missile in the strait during naval drills it believed were intended as a warning after U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Tehran. “On the third day of the ... exercises, a Ghadir-class Iranian navy submarine successfully launched a cruise missile,” official news agency IRNA reported. (Reuters)

02-21-2019
Terrorism

Hackers based in Iran and implicated in attacks on the U.S. and Western allies were behind a computer breach of Australia’s Parliament and political parties, a U.S. cyber research company alleged.

Hackers based in Iran and implicated in attacks on the U.S. and Western allies were behind a computer breach of Australia’s Parliament and political parties, a U.S. cyber research company alleged. This month’s attacks were part of a global espionage campaign that cybersecurity companies say began last year and that has mostly targeted the Five Eyes intelligence alliance comprising the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. They think the attacks were retaliation for President Trump’s decision to withdraw from a nuclear agreement with Iran. The focus and pattern of the attack is compatible with the activity of an Iranian state actor connected to the Mabna Institute, said cybersecurity company Resecurity President Charles Yoo. The Mabna Institute is a technology company linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. (Wall Street Journal)

02-21-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran’s foreign minister has accused Israel of “adventurism” for its attacks in Syria and says he cannot rule out a military confrontation between Iran and Israel.

Iran’s foreign minister has accused Israel of “adventurism” for its attacks in Syria and says he cannot rule out a military confrontation between Iran and Israel. In an interview with the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung published on Thursday, February 21, Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran is in Syria by the invitation of the host government, but Israel with its attacks violates Syrian and Lebanese airspace and international law. Zarif said, “Israel has embarked on adventurism, and adventurism is always dangerous”. Asked if he thinks there can be a military confrontation between Israel and Iran, Zarif said, “I don’t know but I cannot rule it out”. (Radio Farda)

02-21-2019
Human Rights

Iranian security has arrested six Iranian Christian converts in the northern city of Rasht during February, according to sources who spoke to Radio Farda.

Iranian security has arrested six Iranian Christian converts in the northern city of Rasht during February, according to sources who spoke to Radio Farda. Converting to another religion is forbidden in Islam and in countries where religious law applies converts can be prosecuted. Iran regularly arrests Christian converts, whose numbers have been rising in recent years, reaching tens of thousands or more according to some estimates. A well-informed source named the detainees as: Khalil Pour-Dehghan, Hossein Kadivar, Abdolreza Ali Haghnezhad, Kamal Nemanian, Mohammad Vafadar and Mohammad Eslamdoost. (Radio Farda)

02-17-2019
Military

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated a new domestically-built submarine armed with cruise missiles at a time of rising tensions with its arch-enemy the United States.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday inaugurated a new domestically-built submarine armed with cruise missiles at a time of rising tensions with its arch-enemy the United States. “From this moment, the Fateh Submarine joins Iran’s naval force with my order,” Rouhani said in a ceremony broadcast live on the state-run English-language Press TV. The Fateh “Conqueror” submarine weighs 600 tonnes, Press TV said, adding that it “enjoys state-of-the-art weaponry, including torpedoes, naval mines and cruise missiles that could be launched from a submerged position”. (Reuters)

02-14-2019
Terrorism

An Iranian-linked terrorist group, Saraya al-Ashtar, has released a statement threatening attacks on American and British targets in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

An Iranian-linked terrorist group has released a statement threatening attacks on American and British targets in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Saraya al-Ashtar, recognized by the United States and the United Kingdom as a terrorist organization, accused “American and British intelligence” of operating in Bahrain, and said: “so we say to the conspirators against our people that your support for the occupying Khalifa regime will carry a high price for you and will make you a legitimate target for our attacks.” The terrorist group also decried the Bahraini “regime’s openness to the Zionists” saying that it “has strengthened the will and the soul of the Islamic Resistance in Bahrain.” The statement also said that the “Zionist targets in Bahrain are a direct target of our attacks and revenge.” Saraya al-Ashtar, also known as the al-Ashtar Brigades, have claimed responsibility for more than 20 attacks in Bahrain, mainly against police officers and security forces. They were added to a designated terror list by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. (Al-Arabiya)

02-13-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran can only lose by negotiating with the United States and must be careful to limit any dealings with some “untrustworthy” European states, the Islamic Republic’s top leader said.

Iran can only lose by negotiating with the United States and must be careful to limit any dealings with some “untrustworthy” European states, the Islamic Republic’s top leader said on Wednesday. “With regard to America, no problem can be resolved and negotiations with it have nothing but economic and spiritual loss,” Khamenei wrote on his official website. “Today, the Iranian people see some European countries as cunning and untrustworthy along with the criminal America. The government of the Islamic Republic must carefully preserve its boundaries with them.” (Reuters)

02-12-2019
Anti-Americanism

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched on the streets of Tehran, burning American flags and taunting the West as it celebrated the Islamic Revolution's 40th anniversary.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched on the streets of Tehran Monday, burning American flags and taunting the West as it celebrated the Islamic Revolution's 40th anniversary by vowing to boost its ballistic missiles in defiance of U.S. efforts to curb its military. Students, clerics and women dressed in black and carried pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shiite cleric who toppled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in an Islamic uprising that still haunts the West. "Iran will continue to expand its military might and missile program," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the crowd who gathered in Azadi (Freedom) Square. He spoke for nearly 45 minutes, lashing out frequently at Tehran's enemies. (Fox News)

02-11-2019
Terrorism

The leader of the Hezbollah terror group said Tehran had assisted it in facing off against “Zionist aggression,” during a meeting with Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Lebanon.

The leader of the Hezbollah terror group said Tehran had assisted it in facing off against “Zionist aggression,” during a meeting with Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday in Lebanon. Zarif pledged continued support for Hezbollah, which has repeatedly threatened to use its large missile arsenal to target Israel, during the meeting with leader Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut, the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar TV reported. “Nasrallah thanked the Islamic Republic of Iran and its officials and people for what it has offered to Lebanon, Palestine and the region’s resistance movements and peoples in the confrontation against Zionist aggression and takfiri terrorism,” Al-Manar said, according to a translation by the NaharNet website. (Times of Israel)

02-11-2019
Nuclear Program

A senior Iranian official said that the Islamic Republic has the chemical and technical know-how to produce a nuclear weapon, according to Farsi language remarks independently translated for the Washington Free Beacon.

A senior Iranian official said over the weekend that the Islamic Republic has the chemical and technical know-how to produce a nuclear weapon, according to Farsi language remarks independently translated for the Washington Free Beacon. Ahmad Khatami, a senior member of Iran's Assembly of Experts, which enjoys close ties with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, claimed in recent comments that having a nuclear missile "is vital for Iran to confront the U.S. and its allies," according to Farsi language comments made over the weekend. "Having missile[s] and nuclear authority is vital for Iran to confront the U.S. and its allies." Khatami was quoted as saying in remarks in which he also referred to the United States as a thug. (Washington Free Beacon)

02-08-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iranians will chant “Death to America” as long as Washington continues its hostile policies, but the slogan is directed at President Donald Trump and U.S. leaders, not the American nation, Iran’s supreme leader said.

Iranians will chant “Death to America” as long as Washington continues its hostile policies, but the slogan is directed at President Donald Trump and U.S. leaders, not the American nation, Iran’s supreme leader said on Friday. “As long as America continues its wickedness, the Iranian nation will not abandon ‘Death to America’,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a gathering of Iranian Air Force officers marking the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, according to his official website. Trump pulled out of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers last year and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran, dealing a blow to the country’s economy. “‘Death to America’ means death to Trump, (National Security Adviser) John Bolton, and (Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo. It means death to American rulers,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. (Reuters)

02-07-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran appears to have attempted a second satellite launch despite U.S. criticism that its space program helps the country develop ballistic missiles, released satellite images suggest.

Iran appears to have attempted a second satellite launch despite U.S. criticism that its space program helps the country develop ballistic missiles, satellite images released Thursday suggest. Iran did not immediately acknowledge conducting such a launch. Images released by the Colorado-based company DigitalGlobe show a rocket at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan province on Tuesday. Images from Wednesday show the rocket was gone with what appears to be burn marks on its launch pad. It wasn’t immediately clear if the satellite, if launched, made it into orbit. In the images, words written in Farsi in large characters on the launch pad appeared to say in part “40 years” and “Iranian made,” in different sections. That is likely in reference to the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, which authorities have been celebrating this month. (Associated Press)

02-07-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards inaugurated a surface-to-surface ballistic missile with a range of 1,000 km (621 miles), the semi-official Fars news agency reported, ignoring demands Western demands that Tehran halt its missile program.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards inaugurated a surface-to-surface ballistic missile with a range of 1,000 km (621 miles), the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Thursday, ignoring demands Western demands that Tehran halt its missile program.

Fars published pictures of an underground missile factory called “underground city”, saying the “Dezful” missile was a version of the Zolfaghar missile that has a 700 km range and a 450 kg (992 lb) warhead. (Reuters)

02-06-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iranian state media has released an animated video showing one of the country’s Ghadir-class submarines sinking an American aircraft carrier.

Iranian state media has released an animated video showing one of the country’s Ghadir-class submarines sinking an American aircraft carrier. The IRINN news channel aired the clip on February 1, according to a transcription provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). The video opens with the aircraft carrier cruising on an open sea escorted by four smaller ships and carrying two planes on its deck. A green periscope bearing an Iranian flag then appears, sinister music begins playing, and one by one, the American ships disappear beneath the surface. The clip ends with the submarine towing the American ships underwater past a logo reading “40 years,” a reference to the 40th anniversary of the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, and a voiceover saying, “Our Iran has the technology to manufacture very advanced Ghadir-class submarines.” (Times of Israel)

02-05-2019
Military

Iran celebrated the 40th anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution by unveiling a new land attack cruise missile called the Hoveizeh that experts say looks like a knockoff of the Kh-55, a nuclear-capable Soviet missile.

Iran celebrated the 40th anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution by unveiling a new land attack cruise missile called the Hoveizeh that experts say looks like a knockoff of the Kh-55, a nuclear-capable Soviet missile. A 2015 deal struck between the US, UK, Russia, China, France, Germany, the EU and Iran forbids Tehran from building nuclear weapons, but the deal places no real limits on Iran's missile program. While the UN and US have argued that Iran violates the spirit of the nuclear deal with its repeated missile launches, and France threatens additional sanctions on Iran if tests continue, Iran holds that the missile activity doesn't break with the letter of the deal. (Business Insider)

02-04-2019
Human Rights

Iran has detained another environmentalist who worked for the same Iranian conservation organization as eight activists who went on trial in Tehran last week after spending a year in detention.

Iran has detained another environmentalist who worked for the same Iranian conservation organization as eight activists who went on trial in Tehran last week after spending a year in detention. A reliable source in Iran told VOA Persian that Iranian authorities detained Pouria Sepahvand of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation on Saturday. The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) confirmed Sepahvand's arrest in a Monday tweet and said he had been taken to an unknown location. Sepahvand's arrest came on the same day that eight of his colleagues appeared in a Tehran court for a second closed-door session of their trial, whose first session was held on January 30. Iran's state-controlled Fars News Agency has referred to the defendants, who include six men and two women, as "individuals accused of spying on the country's military installations." (Voice of America)

02-04-2019
Military

Iran has equipped its most advanced, longest-range missiles, which can hit Israel and US bases in the Gulf, with new precision guided warheads, state media reported.

Iran has equipped its most advanced, longest-range missiles, which can hit Israel and US bases in the Gulf, with new precision guided warheads, state media reported Sunday. According to the unsourced report in the Fars news agency, the new home-made guided warheads have now been attached to the Khoramshahr, a missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles.) “The new generation of missiles with guided warheads has been named Khoramshahr 2 and they can be controlled until hitting the target and are able to carry warheads weighing nearly 2 tons,” the report said. (Times of Israel)

02-04-2019
Terrorism

An Iranian dissident in Berlin told German police that he was attacked by three men who called him by name and threatened him in Persian before beating him and stamping on him.

An Iranian dissident in Berlin told German police that he was attacked by three men who called him by name and threatened him in Persian before beating him and stamping on him. If linked to Iranian government agents, the attack could further strain Iran’s ties with the European Union, which last month imposed sanctions on an Iranian intelligence unit. The Netherlands has accused Iran of two killings on its soil. France and Denmark have also accused Iran of plotting assassinations of dissidents in Europe. Iran denies the allegations. (Reuters)

01-29-2019
Terrorism

Iran appears to be broadening its presence in cyberspace, stealing information that would allow its cyber spies to monitor and track key political and business officials, including some in the United States.

Iran appears to be broadening its presence in cyberspace, stealing information that would allow its cyber spies to monitor and track key political and business officials, including some in the United States. A new, U.S. intelligence report released Tuesday warned Iranian cyber actors "are targeting U.S. Government officials, government organizations, and companies to gain intelligence and position themselves for future cyber operations." The latest Worldwide Threat Assessment also said Tehran has been preparing to use such information for a range of possible cyber attacks against the U.S. and its allies, though it did not share specifics. (Voice of America)

01-29-2019
Extremism

Iran's capital city has banned the public from walking pet dogs, as part of a long-standing official campaign to discourage dog-ownership.

Iran's capital city has banned the public from walking pet dogs, as part of a long-standing official campaign to discourage dog-ownership. Tehran Police Chief Hossein Rahimi said "we have received permission from the Tehran Prosecutor's Office, and will take measures against people walking dogs in public spaces, such as parks". He told the Young Journalists Club news agency that the ban was due to dogs "creating fear and anxiety" among members of the public. As if this were not draconian enough, Brigadier-General Rahimi added that driving with a dog in your car was also banned. (BBC)

01-29-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran on Tuesday dismissed pressure from France and other Western powers for talks over its ballistic missile program, but said it had no plans to increase the range of the weapons.

Iran on Tuesday dismissed pressure from France and other Western powers for talks over its ballistic missile program, but said it had no plans to increase the range of the weapons. France said last week it was ready to impose further sanctions on Iran if no progress was made in talks about the missiles, described by Tehran as defensive but seen in the West as a destabilizing factor in a volatile region. “Negotiations over Iran’s missile and defensive capabilities are not acceptable in any way,” Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, a top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was quoted as saying by the IRNA news agency. He said French leaders were only raising the issue to distract attention from anti-government demonstrations in their country. Iran on Monday denied that it was holding any talks with France about the missiles. (Reuters)

01-28-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran struck economic and trade deals with Syria, as it widens its role there after helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reclaim most of his country.

Iran struck economic and trade deals with Syria on Monday, as it widens its role there after helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reclaim most of his country. Tehran has reached “very important agreements on banking cooperation” with Syria, Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said in the Syrian capital Damascus. Iran will also help repair power stations across Syria and set up a new plant in the coastal province of Latakia, he added. During Syria’s eight-year conflict, Tehran has dispatched forces and allied Shi’ite militias, including Hezbollah, to provide Damascus with vital military support. Experts say Tehran is now looking to reap a financial dividend. (Reuters)

01-27-2019
Human Rights

The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Iran to stop persecuting journalists for their work after Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Yashar Soltani to five years for his coverage of Tehran land deals.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Iran to stop persecuting journalists for their work after Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Yashar Soltani to five years for his coverage of Tehran land deals. Mr Soltani, the editor-in-chief of Memari News, was investigating corruption in municipal real estate sales in the Iranian capital. He revealed that the mayor's office in Tehran illegally sold public land to political allies at discounted rates. He was charged with "spreading lies in order to disturb public opinion, gathering classified information with the intent to harm national security, [and] defamation and threats against a government contractor," his lawyer, Seyed Sadeq Kashani, told the semi-official Iranian Students' News Agency. (The National)

01-26-2019
Human Rights

The Islamic Republic of Iran publicly hanged a 31-year-old Iranian man after he was found guilty of charges related to violations of Iran’s anti-gay laws, according to the state-controlled Iranian Students’ News Agency.

The Islamic Republic of Iran publicly hanged a 31-year-old Iranian man after he was found guilty of charges related to violations of Iran’s anti-gay laws, according to the state-controlled Iranian Students’ News Agency. The unidentified man was hanged on January 10 in the southwestern city of Kazeroon based on criminal violations of “lavat-e be onf” – sexual intercourse between two men, as well as kidnapping charges, according to ISNA. Iran’s radical sharia law system prescribes the death penalty for gay sex. (Jerusalem Post)

01-25-2019
Military

Iran staged war games involving newly developed rapid redeployment units focused on fighting enemy aggressors and armed militants, state media reported, amid increased tensions with the United States and following a militant attack.

Iran staged war games on Friday involving newly developed rapid redeployment units focused on fighting enemy aggressors and armed militants, state media reported, amid increased tensions with the United States and following a militant attack. Around 12,000 elite troops, armoured vehicles, fighter jets and drones were taking part in the two-day exercises, staged in the central province of Isfahan, state television said. Deployed by transport planes and 60 helicopters, commandos hunted mock armed militants, while an armoured battalion blocked “enemy” forces trying to retreat, state media said. (Reuters)

01-23-2019
Nuclear Program

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says his country has taken key steps toward being able to quickly resume uranium enrichment to the 20% level.

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says his country has taken key steps toward being able to quickly resume uranium enrichment to the 20% level, an activity it agreed to suspend under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) struck with world powers in 2015. Ali Akbar Salehi made the remarks in a lengthy face-to-face interview on Iranian state broadcaster's Channel 4 on Jan. 22. The nuclear chief unveiled details about the path Iran has already taken toward being able to resume its largely restricted nuclear program. The new plans range from building more power plants to a scheduled transfer of 30 tons of yellowcake to the uranium conversion facility outside the city of Esfahan. The latter would be a key step toward ensuring the availability of raw material should Iran decide to exit the nuclear deal and ramp up its enrichment activities. (Al-Monitor)

01-23-2019
Human Rights

Iranian authorities arrested more than 7,000 dissidents last year in a sweeping crackdown that led to hundreds being jailed or flogged, at least 26 protesters being killed, and nine people dying in custody amid suspicious circumstances.

Iranian authorities arrested more than 7,000 dissidents last year in a sweeping crackdown that led to hundreds being jailed or flogged, at least 26 protesters being killed, and nine people dying in custody amid suspicious circumstances, according to Amnesty International. Those rounded up during violent dispersals of peaceful protests in what Amnesty called “a year of shame for Iran” included journalists, lawyers, minority rights activists and women who protested against being forced to wear headscarves. Iranian authorities beat unarmed protesters and used live ammunition, teargas and water cannon throughout the year – particularly in January, July and August – with thousands arbitrarily arrested and detained, new figures assert. “2018 will go down in history as a year of shame for Iran,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East research and advocacy director. (The Guardian)

01-22-2019
Human Rights

Two labour rights activists who were rearrested after speaking out about beatings and other abuse they suffered in detention last year are at grave risk of further torture, Amnesty International has warned.

Two labour rights activists who were rearrested after speaking out about beatings and other abuse they suffered in detention last year are at grave risk of further torture, Amnesty International has warned. Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian were violently arrested in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province, on 20 January in apparent reprisal for talking publicly about the torture they have said they endured in detention during November and December 2018, provoking a public outcry. “There are real fears that Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian could be facing a second round of torture after their rearrest. The timing of their arrest strongly suggests it is part of a sinister attempt to silence and punish them for speaking out about the horrific abuse they suffered in custody. The authorities must release them immediately and unconditionally, ensure their allegations of torture are independently investigated and that those responsible are brought to justice,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. (Amnesty International)

01-21-2019
Extremism

The commander of Iran’s air force, Brigadier Aziz Nasirzadeh, said that Iran will “eliminate Israel from the Earth” in a fiery statement to the Young Journalist Club, a website supervised by state television.

The commander of Iran’s air force, Brigadier Aziz Nasirzadeh, said that Iran will “eliminate Israel from the Earth” in a fiery statement to the Young Journalist Club, a website supervised by state television. “The young people are impatient and fully ready to battle the Zionist regime and make them vanish from the Earth,” Nasirzadeh said. “Our next generation with the knowledge necessary to learn their strengths are the promised ones who will destroy Israel,” he added in the statement. (Al-Arabiya)

01-20-2019
Human Rights

Iranian state TV aired prison confessions of two labor activists and a civil activist who were arrested in November during labor protests in southwestern, oil-rich Khuzestan province.

Iranian state TV January 19 aired prison confessions of two labor activists and a civil activist who were arrested in November during labor protests in southwestern, oil-rich Khuzestan province. The civil activist, Sepideh Qolian tweeted that the forced confessions broadcast are evidence of torture against the detainees. Previously, Qolian and Esmail Bakhshi, a labor leader, had publicly complained that they were both tortured in custody. This led to days of controversy among parliamentarians and government officials. First officials promised to investigate the matter but gradually as the first wave of public outcry died down, they began to backtrack and even talk of prosecuting Bakhshi for making the torture claim. The TV program showed detainees confessing to belong to an emigre Marxist group, an accusation both the accused and the group have rejected as fabrication. (Radio Farda)

01-19-2019
Syria Conflict

Fuel is being shipped illegally from Iran to Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen to finance their war against the government, and both sides are violating international law with their military campaigns and arbitrary detention of rivals, U.N. experts said.

Fuel is being shipped illegally from Iran to Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen to finance their war against the government, and both sides are violating international law with their military campaigns and arbitrary detention of rivals, U.N. experts said in a new report. The experts painted a grim picture of a “deeply fractured” country sliding toward “humanitarian and economic catastrophe” with no sign of victory by either side in a conflict that many view as a proxy war between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran. In the 85-page report to the Security Council seen Friday by The Associated Press, the experts said the government and its coalition partners led by Saudi Arabia made “significant progress” on the ground against the Houthis in 2018 — but their aim of restoring the government’s authority throughout the country “is far from being realized.” At the same time, the panel of experts monitoring U.N. sanctions against Yemen said “the Houthi leadership has continued to consolidate its hold over government and non-government institutions.” (Associated Press)

01-17-2019
Human Rights

Iranian authorities carried out mass arrests and serious due process violations during 2018 in response to protests across the country over deteriorating economic conditions, perceptions of corruption, and the lack of political and social freedoms.

Iranian authorities carried out arbitrary mass arrests and serious due process violations during 2018 in response to protests across the country over deteriorating economic conditions, perceptions of corruption, and the lack of political and social freedoms, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2019. Authorities tightened their grip on peaceful activism, detaining lawyers, human rights defenders, and women’s rights activists. “Iranian leaders blame the world for their problems, but don’t look in the mirror to reflect on how their own systematic repression contributes to Iranians’ frustration,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Iran’s security apparatus and its repressive, unaccountable judiciary are serious obstacles to respect for and protection of human rights.” (Human Rights Watch)

01-16-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran will be ready for a new satellite launch in a few months’ time after a failed attempt this week, President Hassan Rouhani said, ignoring U.S. and European warnings to avoid such activity.

Iran will be ready for a new satellite launch in a few months’ time after a failed attempt this week, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, ignoring U.S. and European warnings to avoid such activity. Iran’s bid to send a satellite, named Payam, into orbit failed on Tuesday as its launching rocket did not reach adequate speed in its third stage. Rouhani was quoted by state media as saying, however, that Iran had “achieved great success in building satellites and launching them. That means we are on the right track. “The remaining problems are minor, will be resolved in a few months, and we will soon be ready for a new launch,” he said. (Reuters)

01-16-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran will keep military forces in Syria, the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards said, defying Israeli threats that they might be targeted if they do not leave the country.

Iran will keep military forces in Syria, the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday, defying Israeli threats that they might be targeted if they do not leave the country. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israeli forces would continue to attack Iranians in Syria and warned them “to get out of there fast, because we will continue with our resolute policy”. Rebuffing the threats, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the Revolutionary Guards top commander, was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency that “the Islamic Republic of Iran will keep all its military and revolutionary advisers and its weapons in Syria.” (Reuters)

01-15-2019
Terrorism

Prosecutors in Germany say an army employee has been detained on suspicion of spying for the Iranian intelligence service.

Prosecutors in Germany say an army employee has been detained on suspicion of spying for the Iranian intelligence service. The federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement that the 50-year-old German-Afghan dual citizen, whose name was only given as Abdul Hamid S. in line with German privacy rules, was detained Tuesday in the Rhineland in western Germany. He worked as a translator for the German army and is accused of having passed on information to the Iranian intelligence service. (Associated Press)

01-15-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran can enrich uranium up to 20 percent within four days, its atomic energy chief said, a comment apparently aimed at showing Tehran could quickly expand its enrichment program if its nuclear deal with world powers collapses.

Iran can enrich uranium up to 20 percent within four days, its atomic energy chief said on Tuesday, a comment apparently aimed at showing Tehran could quickly expand its enrichment program if its nuclear deal with world powers collapses. Iran’s 2015 accord with world powers caps the level to which it is able to enrich uranium to 3.67 percent purity, well below the 20 percent it was reaching before the deal, and the roughly 90 percent suitable for a nuclear weapon. “If we want to come out of the nuclear deal and produce, within four days we could start our 20 percent,” Ali Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told the semi-official Fars News Agency. “But we already have stockpiles of 20 percent, and the capability.” (Reuters)

01-15-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran launched a satellite that failed to reach orbit, after the US warned against the launch earlier this month.

Iran launched a satellite on Tuesday that failed to reach orbit, after the US warned against the launch earlier this month. The satellite "did not reach enough speed in the third stage and was not put into orbit," Mohammad Jahromi, the country's Minister of Communications and Information Technology, told the official IRNA news agency after a ceremony was held for the launch at Imam Khomeini Spaceport early Tuesday. The minister said Iran would launch another satellite soon. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Iran earlier this month to scrap its planned satellite launch, threatening to increase sanctions on the country. (CNN)

01-13-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran is taking preliminary steps to design uranium fuel with a purity of 20 percent for reactors instead of having to copy foreign designs, Iran’s nuclear chief said.

Iran is taking preliminary steps to design uranium fuel with a purity of 20 percent for reactors instead of having to copy foreign designs, Iran’s nuclear chief said on Sunday. Iran’s 2015 nuclear accord with world powers caps the level to which it is able to enrich uranium to 3.67 percent purity, well below the 20 percent it was reaching before the deal, and the roughly 90 percent that is weapons-grade. Iran is, however, allowed to produce nuclear fuel under strict conditions that need to be approved by a working group set up by the signatories to the deal. Those conditions include ensuring that the fuel cannot be converted to uranium hexafluoride, the feedstock for centrifuges that enrich uranium. (Reuters)

01-11-2019
Syria Conflict

A bomb-laden drone launched by the Houthi rebels, which exploded over a Yemeni military parade at al-Anad Air Base in the southern province of Lahj, was most likely manufactured by Iran, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

A bomb-laden drone launched by the Houthi rebels, which exploded on Thursday over a Yemeni military parade at al-Anad Air Base in the southern province of Lahj, was most likely manufactured by Iran, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. The attack, 50 kilometers north of Aden, left four troops dead and another 20 injured.  The government described the attack as "a message of blatant defiance to the international community and outright rejection to peace efforts." (Asharq Al-Awsat)

01-10-2019
Extremism

A top Iranian general has said Iran will annihilate Israel, boasted that Iran could easily defeat Saudi Arabia, and threatened to overrun American military bases in the Middle East.

A top Iranian general has said Iran will annihilate Israel, boasted that Iran could easily defeat Saudi Arabia, and threatened to overrun American military bases in the Middle East. Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Deputy Commander for Cultural and Social Affairs, said in a December 28 interview with the Iraqi television network Al-Nujaba that the “Islamic revolution in Iran will not back down” from the goal of “wiping out” the Jewish state. The interview was translated Wednesday by the Middle East Media Research Institute. Naqdi, a former head of the regime’s Basij militia, insisted in the interview that “Israel must be destroyed and wiped out. There is no doubt that the Zionists must be annihilated and destroyed. This will definitely happen.” He added: “Neither Russia nor any other country can intermediate between us and the Zionists. The Islamic revolution in Iran will not back down even an inch from its position regarding the wiping out of Israel.” (Times of Israel)

01-10-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran's president said the Islamic Republic soon will send two new satellites into orbit using Iran-made rockets, despite U.S. concern the launch could help further develop its ballistic missiles.

Iran's president said Thursday the Islamic Republic soon will send two new satellites into orbit using Iran-made rockets, despite U.S. concern the launch could help further develop its ballistic missiles. President Hassan Rouhani's comments, during a commemoration for the late President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, confirmed the rocket launches would take place. "Soon, in the coming weeks, we will send two satellites into space using our domestically-made rockets," Rouhani said, without elaborating. (Associated Press)

01-10-2019
Terrorism

Cyber attackers in Iran could be behind a wave of hacks on government and communications infrastructure that will require a coordinated global response to repel, according to cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc.

Cyber attackers in Iran could be behind a wave of hacks on government and communications infrastructure that will require a coordinated global response to repel, according to cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. FireEye researchers have identified attacks on dozens of Internet sites belonging to entities across the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and North America, the firm said in a report published Thursday. The actor or actors have “a nexus to Iran,” it said. (Bloomberg)

01-09-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s supreme leader called U.S. officials “first-class idiots,” mocking American leaders as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo toured the Mideast to promote the White House’s tough stance on Iran.

Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday called U.S. officials “first-class idiots,” mocking American leaders as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo toured the Mideast to promote the White House’s tough stance on Iran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments were unusually harsh, reflecting the broader tension between Iran and the United States after President Donald Trump withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Khamenei, speaking to a group from Iran’s religious capital of Qom, made the remark while recounting a story about a U.S. official once predicting he’d celebrate Christmas in Iran. “Some U.S. officials pretend that they are mad,” Khamenei said. “Of course I don’t agree with that, but they are first-class idiots.” (Associated Press)

01-07-2019
Human Rights

Iran has been holding an American Navy veteran in prison on unspecified charges since late July, when he was seized while visiting an Iranian girlfriend, his mother said.

Iran has been holding an American Navy veteran in prison on unspecified charges since late July, when he was seized while visiting an Iranian girlfriend, his mother said Monday. The imprisonment of the veteran, Michael R. White, 46, from Imperial Beach, Calif., could further complicate relations between the United States and Iran. Tension between the countries worsened substantially after President Trump renounced the nuclear accord with Iran last May and reimposed severe sanctions. (New York Times)

01-04-2019
Military

The Iranian navy will send warships to deploy in the Atlantic from March, a top commander said, as the Islamic Republic seeks to increase the operating range of its naval forces to the backyard of the United States, its arch foe.

The Iranian navy will send warships to deploy in the Atlantic from March, a top commander said on Friday, as the Islamic Republic seeks to increase the operating range of its naval forces to the backyard of the United States, its arch foe. Iran sees the presence of U.S. aircraft carriers in the Gulf as a security concern and its navy has sought to counter that by showing the flag near American waters. A flotilla will leave for the Atlantic early in the Iranian new year, starting from March, Iran’s naval deputy commander said. (Reuters)

01-03-2019
Nuclear Program

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Iran against launching three spacecraft in the coming months, describing them as a cover for testing technology that is necessary to lob a warhead at the United States and other nations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Iran on Thursday against launching three spacecraft in the coming months, describing them as a cover for testing technology that is necessary to lob a warhead at the United States and other nations. His statement seemed intended to build a legal case for diplomatic, military or covert action against the Iranian missile program. It was surprising only because Iran has been launching modest space missions, mostly to deploy satellites, since 2005. The stark warning on Thursday was immediately rejected by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, who shot back in a tweet that Tehran’s launch of space vehicles — and of missiles — is “NOT in violation of Res 2231.” (New York Times)

01-02-2019
Human Rights

Authorities in Iran are preparing to block access to Instagram, extending their crackdown on social media to the only major platform still freely available.

Authorities in Iran are preparing to block access to Instagram, extending their crackdown on social media to the only major platform still freely available. The National Cyberspace Council approved steps toward blocking the service, Javad Javidnia, deputy for cyberspace affairs at the public prosecutor’s office, was cited as saying by the semi-official Donya-e Eqtesad newspaper. Instagram would join Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Telegram in being banned in the Islamic Republic, ostensibly for reasons of national security. Despite the restrictions, Iranians including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif continue to use the services, which are widely accessible via proxy servers. Rouhani’s verified Twitter account has over 800,000 followers. (Bloomberg)

12-31-2018
Military

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said they plan to upgrade their speed boats in the Gulf with radar-evading stealth technology and new missile launchers as tensions rise between Tehran and Washington in the vital oil shipping route.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Monday they plan to upgrade their speed boats in the Gulf with radar-evading stealth technology and new missile launchers as tensions rise between Tehran and Washington in the vital oil shipping route. Ending a long absence of U.S. aircraft carriers in the region, the USS John C. Stennis entered the Gulf last week, and was shadowed by the Revolutionary Guards’ speed boats. There have been periodic confrontations between the Revolutionary Guards vessels and U.S. military in the Gulf, although the number of incidents has dropped in recent months. “We are trying to increase the agility of the Guards’ speed boats and equip them with stealth technology to facilitate their operations,” Alireza Tangsiri, the Revolutionary Guards’ navy chief, was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA. (Reuters)

12-31-2018
Extremism

Iran's Supreme Leader met with Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Ziad al-Nakhala in Teheran to emphasize his support for the Palestinian people and hailed Israel’s “downfall and demise,” the Iranian network Press TV reported.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei met with Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Ziad al-Nakhala in Teheran on Monday to emphasize his support for the Palestinian people, the Iranian network Press TV reported Monday. “As long as there is resistance, the Zionist regime’s downfall and demise will continue," said Khamenei. According to the report, Khamenei congratulated leaders of the Islamic Jihad for, what he called, their victory against Israel in Gaza. “During the previous two wars, the Zionist regime called for truce after 22 days on one occasion and 8 days on another, but in the latest confrontation it requested a ceasefire after only 48 hours,” Khamenei explained. “This means the Zionist regime has been brought to its knees.” (Jerusalem Post)

12-31-2018
Politics

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appears to have made a move to strengthen the hard-line camp and weaken the moderates -- and also may have cleaned up his line of succession.

By appointing a conservative ally to head the influential Expediency Council, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appears to have made a move to strengthen the hard-line camp and weaken the moderates -- and also may have cleaned up his line of succession. "This is not good news for the moderates within the establishment," Paris-based political analyst Taghi Rahmani said of Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani's appointment to both head the Expediency Council and take a seat the powerful Guardians Council. The Expediency Council is tasked with mediating disputes between parliament and the Guardians Council, which determines whether laws are compliant with the Islamic republic's constitution and also vets election candidates. In addition to taking on his new roles, Larijani will retain his seat as head of the country's Judiciary. "It demonstrates that Khamenei prefers the extremists to manage the country's affairs," Rahmani said. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

12-27-2018
Syria Conflict

Militias affiliated with Iran in Iraq threatened to respond to American President Donald Trump’s visit to Iraq.

Militias affiliated with Iran in Iraq threatened to respond to American President Donald Trump’s visit to Iraq on Wednesday. Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and Harakat al-Nujaba said Trump’s visit to Al Asad Air Base in Anbar “will not go unpunished.” Harakat al-Nujaba said it will not allow turning Iraq into an American base that threatens neighboring countries and called on the Iraqi government to expel American troops from the country as their presence harms the country’s sovereignty. (Al-Arabiya)

12-24-2018
Human Rights

A parliamentary motion banning child marriage in Iran has been rejected by Majles (parliament), an MP reported.

A parliamentary motion banning child marriage in Iran has been rejected by Majles (parliament), an MP reported. A member of women's faction in the Islamic Republic's parliament, Tayyebeh Seyavoshi says, "The Legal and Judicial Commission of Majles has rejected a parliamentary motion that proposed a ban on allowing under thirteen-year-old girls to marry." Following the rejection, Ms. Seyavoshi says, "We are waiting for the Commission's official report, and then, decide on our next step." According to a member of the Legal and Judicial commission, Yahya Kamalpour, the motion was rejected after Grand Ayatollahs and sources of emulation" vehemently opposed it. (Radio Farda)

12-22-2018
Military

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards launched war games in the Gulf after a U.S. aircraft carrier entered the waterway amid rising tension between the countries over reimposed U.S. sanctions.

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards launched war games in the Gulf today after a U.S. aircraft carrier entered the waterway amid rising tension between the countries over reimposed U.S. sanctions. State television showed amphibious forces landing on Iran's Gulf island of Qeshm during the exercises, which featured naval vessels, helicopters, drones, rocket launchers and commando units. 'Hopefully, with these exercises, our enemies will realise more than ever how devastating our response would be to any move by them,' state news agency IRNA quoted Guards chief Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari as saying. (Daily Mail)

12-21-2018
Human Rights

Iran faces new criticism from Baha’i activists for its delayed release of an ailing Baha’i leader imprisoned for a decade and for its threat to jail a Baha’i woman for 11 years.

Iran faces new criticism from Baha’i activists for its delayed release of an ailing Baha’i leader imprisoned for a decade and for its threat to jail a Baha’i woman for 11 years. The Baha’i International Community (BIC) said Iran released the last of seven imprisoned former leaders of the country’s Baha’i minority on Thursday. BIC sent VOA Persian photos of 56-year-old Afif Naeimi, a father of two from Tehran, with loved ones who greeted him with flowers after he emerged from the city’s Evin prison. Naeimi and the six other Iranian Baha’i leaders had been arrested in 2008 on national-security-related charges rejected as baseless by BIC, which said they were part of a long-running persecution of Iranian Baha’is by Tehran’s Islamist rulers who view them as heretics. (Voice of America)

12-19-2018
Human Rights

For the second day in a row, Iranian authorities detained a number of steel mill workers after five weeks of protests over delays in salaries.

For the second day in a row, Iranian authorities on Tuesday detained a number of steel mill workers after five weeks of protests over delays in salaries. The factory of the state-owned National Iranian Steel Group in Ahvaz, the capital of southwestern Khuzestan province, was founded in early 1960s and has nearly 4,000 workers. It was privatized in 2008 but following financial problems, its ownership returned to a government bank in 2016. The head of the Iranian workers union said that the authorities arrested 10 workers on Tuesday, raising the number of laborers detained since the launch of a campaign of arrest against them at dawn Monday, to 41. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

12-18-2018
Human Rights

The UN General Assembly approved a resolution urging Iran to stop its widespread use of arbitrary detention and expressing serious concern at its “alarmingly high” use of the death penalty.

The UN General Assembly on Monday approved a resolution urging Iran to stop its widespread use of arbitrary detention and expressing serious concern at its “alarmingly high” use of the death penalty. The Canadian-drafted resolution was adopted by a vote of 84 to 30 with 67 abstentions. The resolution “strongly urges” Iran to eliminate discrimination against women in law and practice and expresses “serious concern about ongoing severe limitations and restrictions on the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.” (Associated Press)

12-18-2018
Terrorism

According to a cyber security research lab Certfa Iran backed hackers targeted U.S. government officials, think-tank employees and nuclear scientists around the world.

According to a cyber security research lab Certfa Iran backed hackers targeted U.S. government officials, think-tank employees and nuclear scientists around the world. The hackers used sophisticated "Phishing attacks through email or social media and messaging accounts of public figures.” The attackers allegedly also managed to breach two-factor authentication. According at an AP report Certfa managed to extract a partial list of 77 Yahoo and Gmail addresses accidentally left by hackers on one of their servers. Certfa researchers allege that the hacking group Charming Kitten is behind this attack because "domain names and servers of this campaign are very similar to the methods" of Charming Kitten. Although the group used Virtual Private Networks to mask their locations Certfa says they managed to trace some of the IP address to Iran. (Radio Farda)

12-16-2018
Human Rights

Iranian authorities have confirmed the death of a social media activist jailed on security charges, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported, after Western rights groups said he had died following a 60-day hunger strike in prison.

Iranian authorities have confirmed the death of a social media activist jailed on security charges, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported on Sunday, after Western rights groups said he had died following a 60-day hunger strike in prison. “The political prisoner Vahid Sayyadi Nasiri, on hunger strike since October 13, 2018 to protest the denial of his right to counsel and inhumane prison conditions..., has died at the Shahid Beheshti Hospital in Qom,” the U.S.-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said on its website. ISNA quoted an unidentified source as saying Nasiri had been jailed twice for belonging to a royalist group and planning acts of sabotage including an explosion. He had been taken from prison to a hospital where he died due to a liver disease on Dec. 12, the source said, without referring to a hunger strike. (Reuters)

12-15-2018
Extremism

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said US sanctions will have no impact on the policies of the Islamic republic at home or abroad.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday said US sanctions will have no impact on the policies of the Islamic republic at home or abroad. "It is obvious that we are facing pressure by the US sanctions. But will that lead to a change in policy? I can assure you it won't," Zarif told the Doha Forum policy conference in Qatar. "If there is an art we have perfected in Iran and can teach to others for a price, it is the art of evading sanctions," he added. (Daily Mail)

12-13-2018
Human Rights

An Iranian political activist, Vahid Sayadi Nasiri, detained in Qom Prison, died in his cell after a 60-day hunger strike.

An Iranian political activist, detained in Qom Prison, died in his cell on Wednesday after a 60-day hunger strike. Vahid Sayadi Nasiri was jailed in 2015 and sentenced to eight years after he was accused of insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and spreading “propaganda against the state” on his Facebook account, according to the advocacy group Iran Human Rights Monitor. During his initial detention at Raja’i Shahr and Evin prisons, Iran Human Rights Monitor alleges that Sayadi Nasiri had been harassed by operatives linked to the Iranian regime. The group say he was attacked in May 2017 by a fellow prisoner, and again in February, this time by two offenders. Sayadi Nasiri was released in March having served two-and-a-half years of his sentence, but detained again in August 2018. (Time)

12-12-2018
Human Rights

Dissident Iranian lawyer Ghasem Sholesaadi has been sentenced to six years in prison, his lawyer said.

Dissident Iranian lawyer Ghasem Sholesaadi has been sentenced to six years in prison, his lawyer said Wednesday. Sholesaadi was arrested Aug. 18 while taking part in a small protest outside the Iranian Parliament against the barring of candidates from elections. The conservative-dominated Guardian Council reserves the right to veto any candidates from presidential and parliamentary elections. "Mr. Sholesaadi has been sentenced to five years of prison for 'assembling and conspiring against national security' by the 15th branch of Tehran's revolutionary court," his lawyer, Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, told AFP. "He also received one further year for 'propagation against the system,’" Aghasi added. (Agence France Presse)

12-11-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran has confirmed a recent ballistic missile test that was condemned by the United States.

Iran has confirmed a recent ballistic missile test that was condemned by the United States. The semi-official Fars news agency on Tuesday quoted Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh as saying the test was an “important one.” Hajizadeh, who leads the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division, said the American outcry “indicates that the test was very important to them.” The U.S. seized on the missile test to urge European countries to follow its lead in restoring tough sanctions on Iran. (The Associated Press)

12-11-2018
Syria Conflict

Two launch units for anti-tank guided missiles recovered by a Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen appear to have been manufactured in Iran during 2016 and 2017, according to a confidential United Nations report seen by Reuters.

Two launch units for anti-tank guided missiles recovered by a Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen appear to have been manufactured in Iran during 2016 and 2017, according to a confidential United Nations report seen by Reuters on Tuesday. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres does not specifically state whether the discovery of the units in Yemen was a violation of a U.N. resolution that took effect in January 2016. It prevents Iran from importing and exporting arms or related materiel unless the Security Council has given approval. “The Secretariat found that they had characteristics of Iranian manufacture and that their markings indicated production dates in 2016 and 2017,” Guterres said in his biannual report to the Security Council on the implementation of sanctions on Iran. (Reuters)

12-10-2018
Human Rights

Iranian authorities have reportedly arrested over 100 Christians in the past few days, as they seek to crack down on conversions and what they claim is proselytizing by evangelicals.

Iranian authorities have reportedly arrested over 100 Christians in the past few days, as they seek to crack down on conversions and what they claim is proselytizing by evangelicals. Citing Open Doors UK, a charity that monitors persecution of Christians around the world, the Telegraph reported Monday that growing public interest in the minority faith, which makes up less than 1 percent — or around 350,000 — of the population, has worried the Islamic regime, leading to to crackdowns on churches and congregants. While the existing Christian minority is accepted by Iran’s rulers, conversion from Islam is a punishable offense. “This spike in arrests is highly concerning,” Zoe Smith, head of advocacy at Open Doors, told the paper. “It follows an established trend of the Iranian government: as the number of converts to Christianity increase, so the authorities place greater restrictions on churches. (Times of Israel)

12-10-2018
Human Rights

Iran has detained an Australian-based academic on charges of trying to “infiltrate” Iranian institutions, according to state media.

Iran has detained an Australian-based academic on charges of trying to “infiltrate” Iranian institutions, according to state media. State news agency IRNA identified the detainee as population expert Meimanat Hosseini-Chavoshi who was held as she was leaving Iran. Hosseini-Chavoshi is affiliated with the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. Population control became a sensitive issue in Iran when the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued a decree in 2014 calling for a population increase after decades of state-promoted birth control. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

12-09-2018
Nuclear Program

Tehran has “significantly expanded” its missile testing, including a missile that can reach European countries, the German daily Die Welt reported.

Tehran has “significantly expanded” its missile testing, including a missile that can reach European countries, the German daily Die Welt reported on Sunday.  The increase in tests marks a doubling of the country’s test missile launches. The regime tested four medium-range and one short-range missile in 2017, less than half the number of tests in 2018, according to documentation seen by the newspaper. Iran tested medium-range missiles at least seven times in 2018, Die Welt said, testing short-range and cruise missiles an additional five times. Three variants of the Shabab-3 medium-range missile were tested, according to information provided to the paper, while two variants of the Qiam-1 were tested and the Khorramshahr missile was also tested at least once. (Jerusalem Post)

12-06-2018
Human Rights

Iran executed 12 prisoners in Kerman Central Prison, most of them convicted of drug charges.

Iran on Thursday executed 12 prisoners in Kerman Central Prison, most of them convicted of drug charges. Four of the executed prisoners were identified as, Abdolghani Ghalandarzehi, Yaghub Ghalandarzehi, Jalil Khodabakhsh and Yousef Jalaledin, all from Iran’s ethnic Baluch minority. According to witnesses, the bodies of 12 people executed today were handed over to their families. (Iran Human Rights Monitor)

12-04-2018
Syria Conflict

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has threatened again to close the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has threatened again to close the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea. The state TV quotes Rouhani as saying on Tuesday that “if someday, the United States decides to block Iran’s oil (exports), no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf.” The strait at the mouth of the Persian Gulf is crucial to global energy supplies. Rouhani also pledged that the United States wouldn’t be able to prevent Iran from exporting its crude. (Associated Press)

12-04-2018
Terrorism

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of ultimate responsibility for the attack tunnels, built by Hezbollah, one of which was destroyed today in the IDF's operation Northern Shield on the Lebanon border.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of ultimate responsibility for the attack tunnels, built by Hezbollah, one of which was destroyed today in the IDF's operation Northern Shield on the Lebanon border. This act is part of Iran's web of terror in the region and the world, Netanyahu said. "We are acting to prevent Iran gaining a foothold in Syria and in Lebanon." The goal of the Hezbollah tunnel, Netanyahu said, is to capture Israeli territory in the Galilee. (Jerusalem Post)

12-04-2018
Military

Iran intends to expand the range of its air-to-air missiles and has carried out very good measures in this regard, commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh says.

Iran intends to expand the range of its air-to-air missiles and has carried out very good measures in this regard, commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh says. "One of our most important programs is increasing the range of missiles and ammunition," Nasirzadeh said in an interview with Fars news agency on Tuesday. "We are after standoff missiles and ammunition and see no limitations for ourselves in this field because the Air Force should boost the country's deterrent power along with other [Armed] Forces," he added. (Press TV)

12-01-2018
Military

Iran’s navy launched a domestically made destroyer, which state media said has radar-evading stealth properties, as tensions rise with arch-enemy, the United States.

Iran’s navy on Saturday launched a domestically made destroyer, which state media said has radar-evading stealth properties, as tensions rise with arch-enemy, the United States. In a ceremony carried live on state television, the Sahand destroyer — which can sustain voyages lasting five months without resupply — joined Iran’s regular navy at a base in Bandar Abbas on the Gulf. The Sahand has a flight deck for helicopters, torpedo launchers, anti-aircraft and anti-ship guns, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and electronic warfare capabilities, state television reported. (Reuters)

12-01-2018
Nuclear Program

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran's government had just test-fired a medium-range missile "that is capable of carrying multiple warheads."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that Iran's government had just test-fired a medium-range missile "that is capable of carrying multiple warheads." The ballistic missile Iran tested has the ability to hit parts of Europe and any location in the Middle East, the secretary said, which he claimed would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution that called Iran to not pursue "any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology." "We condemn these activities," Pompeo said, "and call upon Iran to cease immediately all activities relating to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons." (NBC News)

11-30-2018
Extremism

A Tehran-based agency has quietly fed propaganda through at least 70 websites to countries from Afghanistan to Russia.

A Tehran-based agency has quietly fed propaganda through at least 70 websites to countries from Afghanistan to Russia. And American firms have helped. Website Nile Net Online promises Egyptians “true news” from its offices in the heart of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, “to expand the scope of freedom of expression in the Arab world.” Until recently, Nile Net Online had more than 115,000 page-followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But its contact telephone numbers, including one listed as 0123456789, don’t work. A Facebook map showing its location dropped a pin onto the middle of the street, rather than any building. And regulars at the square, including a newspaper stallholder and a policeman, say they have never heard of the website. The reason: Nile Net Online is part of an influence operation based in Tehran. It’s one of more than 70 websites found by Reuters which push Iranian propaganda to 15 countries, in an operation that cybersecurity experts, social media firms and journalists are only starting to uncover. The sites found by Reuters are visited by more than half a million people a month, and have been promoted by social media accounts with more than a million followers. (Reuters)

11-29-2018
Military

Iran’s navy has acquired two new mini submarines designed for operations in shallow waters such as the Persian Gulf, the Iranian state TV reported.

Iran’s navy has acquired two new mini submarines designed for operations in shallow waters such as the Persian Gulf, the Iranian state TV reported on Thursday. The report said one of the mini submarines — also known as midget submarines — was dubbed Ghadir-955 and was built in 18 months. The other, a previously built Ghadir-942, took 10 months to overhaul. The subs have sonar-evading technology and can launch missiles from under water, as well as fire torpedoes and drop marine mines, the TV said. Iran began manufacturing Ghadir subs in 2005. The first was unveiled in 2007 and by 2012, five such submarines were incorporated into Iran’s navy. (Associated Press)

11-29-2018
Terrorism

An Iranian cargo plane allegedly transporting advanced weaponry to the Hezbollah terror group was spotted flying directly from Tehran to Beirut on Thursday morning, hours before Israel allegedly conducted airstrikes on pro-Iranian targets in Syria.

An Iranian cargo plane allegedly transporting advanced weaponry to the Hezbollah terror group was spotted flying directly from Tehran to Beirut on Thursday morning, hours before Israel allegedly conducted airstrikes on pro-Iranian targets in Syria. Israeli and American security officials have long claimed that Iran has been supplying Lebanon’s Hezbollah with advanced munitions by shipping them through ostensibly civilian airlines, including the one that flew into Lebanon on Thursday: Fars Air Qeshm. However, these cargo planes typically unload their materiel in Syria or stop there en route to Beirut, rather than flying directly into Lebanon, where Hezbollah is based. (Times of Israel)

11-29-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran is using teams of hit squads in Iraq to silence critics of Iranian attempts to meddle in Iraq’s new government, according to British security officials.

Iran is using teams of hit squads in Iraq to silence critics of Iranian attempts to meddle in Iraq’s new government, according to British security officials. The hit squads are said to have been deployed on the orders of Qassem Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, with the aim of intimidating Iraqi opponents of Iranian interference in Iraqi politics. The hit squads were deployed after Iraqi general election in May, when Iranian attempts to establish a controlling influence over the new Iraqi government were stymied by the failure of Tehran-backed candidates to win sufficient votes. (Telegraph)

11-29-2018
Syria Conflict

The Trump administration accused Iran of stepping up violations of a U.N. ban on arms exports by sending rockets and other weaponry to rebels in Afghanistan and Yemen.

The Trump administration on Thursday accused Iran of stepping up violations of a U.N. ban on arms exports by sending rockets and other weaponry to rebels in Afghanistan and Yemen. The new allegations come as the U.S. ramps up pressure on Iran to halt what it calls “malign activities” in the Middle East and elsewhere by reinstating sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal from which President Donald Trump withdrew in May. Iran has denied such accusations in the past. In a presentation at a military base in Washington, the administration displayed weapons and fragments of weapons seized in Afghanistan, Bahrain and Yemen that it said are evidence Iran is a “grave and escalating threat” that must be stopped. The material was added to a collection presented by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley last December when she laid out a case for pulling out of the nuclear agreement. (Associated Press)

11-28-2018
Terrorism

Two Iranians were behind the ransomware attack that crippled Atlanta’s government for days this year, the Justice Department said in an unsealed indictment, detailing a sophisticated scheme of attacks.

Two Iranians were behind the ransomware attack that crippled Atlanta’s government for days this year, the Justice Department said in an indictment unsealed on Wednesday, detailing a sophisticated scheme of attacks on hospitals, government agencies and other organizations. The men, Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri, chose targets with complex yet vulnerable systems — organizations that could afford to pay ransoms and needed to urgently restore their systems back online, prosecutors said. In the case of Atlanta, one of the most sustained and consequential cyberattacks ever launched against a major American city, the pair broke into the city’s computer systems and held their data hostage for about $51,000 worth of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, prosecutors said. (New York Times)

11-27-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran is determined to fight against US Donald Trump's anticipated Israel-Palestinian peace plan, parliament speaker Ali Larijani said according to semi-official news agency ISNA.

Iran is determined to fight against US Donald Trump's anticipated Israel-Palestinian peace plan, parliament speaker Ali Larijani said Tuesday according to semi-official news agency ISNA. Trump has dubbed his administration's long-awaited plan the "ultimate deal", which has already unsettled the Palestinians although no details have yet been disclosed. Speaking in Tehran, Larijani said the "deal of the century" was a "plot" between Iran's arch foe Israel and the United States to establish the Jewish state's domination in the Middle East. "We will stand against the regime of Israel and won't let this deal take place in the region," Larijani said at an annual conference on Islamic unity. (Agence France Presse)

11-26-2018
Military

Iran says it is ready to export domestically built fighter jets after showcasing them to potential buyers during an air show on Kish Island.

Iran says it is ready to export domestically built fighter jets after showcasing them to potential buyers during an upcoming air show on Kish Island. Brigadier General Abdoklarim Banitarafi, head of Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO), made the announcement on Monday, before the air show’s opening ceremony. “We have already taken the necessary steps to export products that we are authorized to sell,” he told reporters, noting that Tehran will resume selling trainer jets as well. (Press TV)

11-24-2018
Extremism

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called Israel a “cancerous tumor” established by Western countries to advance their interests in the Middle East.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday called Israel a “cancerous tumor” established by Western countries to advance their interests in the Middle East. Iran’s leaders frequently condemn Israel and predict its demise, but Rouhani, a relative moderate, rarely employs such rhetoric. Addressing an annual Islamic Unity Conference on Saturday, Rouhani said “one of the ominous results of World War II was the formation of a cancerous tumor in the region.” He went on to refer to Israel as a “fake regime” set up by Western countries. (Associated Press)

11-22-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran has not declared all its chemical weapons capabilities to the global chemical weapons agency in The Hague, in violation of an international non-proliferation convention, the U.S. ambassador to the organization said.

Iran has not declared all its chemical weapons capabilities to the global chemical weapons agency in The Hague, in violation of an international non-proliferation convention, the U.S. ambassador to the organization said on Thursday. Ambassador Kenneth Ward told a meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that Iran had failed to report a production facility for the filling of aerial bombs and maintains a program to obtain banned toxic munitions. (Reuters)

11-20-2018
Syria Conflict

The Treasury Department on Tuesday added a network of Russian and Iranian companies to its blacklist for shipping oil to Syria in violation of sanctions.

The Treasury Department on Tuesday added a network of Russian and Iranian companies to its blacklist for shipping oil to Syria in violation of sanctions. The network helps fuel the Syrian war effort of President Bashar Assad while providing revenue for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in announcing the sanctions. “The United States in its continued efforts will not allow these dirty dealings to flourish,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on Tuesday. “Iran will not be allowed to exploit the international financial system to hide revenue streams it uses to fund terrorist activity.” (Associated Press)

11-15-2018
Human Rights

A U.N. committee on human rights approved a resolution urging Iran to stop its widespread use of arbitrary detention and expressing serious concern at its “alarmingly high” use of the death penalty.

A U.N. committee on human rights approved a resolution Thursday urging Iran to stop its widespread use of arbitrary detention and expressing serious concern at its “alarmingly high” use of the death penalty. The General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee adopted the resolution by a vote of 85-30, with 68 abstentions. It is virtually certain to be approved by the 193-member world body next month. The resolution “strongly urges” Iran to eliminate discrimination against women in law and practice and expresses “serious concern about ongoing severe limitations and restrictions on the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.” It singles out violations including harassment, intimidation and persecution against religious minorities including Christians, Gonabadi Dervishes, Jews, Sufi Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Yarsanis, Zoroastrians and members of the Baha’i faith — and urges the release of religious practitioners including Baha’i leaders. (Associated Press)

11-14-2018
Human Rights

Rights group Amnesty International condemned Iran's execution of a gold trader and his accomplice as "abhorrent" and said it followed a "grossly unfair show trial".

Rights group Amnesty International condemned Iran's execution on Wednesday of a gold trader and his accomplice as "abhorrent" and said it followed a "grossly unfair show trial". Vahid Mazloomin and accomplice Mohammad Esmail Ghasemi were executed after being found guilty of "corruption on earth", Iran's most serious capital offence, the judiciary's Mizan website said. Mazloomin had been dubbed the "Sultan of Coins" for allegedly exploiting a surge in gold demand from savers spooked by this year's currency crisis in Iran. "With these abhorrent executions the Iranian authorities have flagrantly violated international law," said Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa research director, Philip Luther. (Radio Farda)

11-13-2018
Terrorism

The U.S.'s lead counterterrorism envoy has accused Iran of spending $1 billion a year on supporting groups considered terrorist organizations by the U.S.

The U.S.'s lead counterterrorism envoy has accused Iran of spending $1 billion a year on supporting groups considered terrorist organizations by the U.S. Nathan A. Sales, the State Department's ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism, targeted Iran in a blistering lecture given on Tuesday to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank founded by the former deputy research director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He accused Tehran of propping up various militias across the region, including the Lebanese Shiite Muslim Hezbollah movement, the Palestinian Sunni Muslim group Hamas and the Zaidi Shiite Muslim Ansar Allah militia, also known as the Houthis. "Let me give you some numbers. This may sound hard to believe, but Iran provides Hizballah alone some $700 million a year. It gives another $100 million to various Palestinian terrorist groups. When you throw in the money provided to other terrorists, the total comes close to one billion dollars," Sales said. (Newsweek)

11-07-2018
Terrorism

Three Iranians traveling with fake Israeli passports were detained in Bulgaria over the weekend, The Sofia Globe reported.

Three Iranians traveling with fake Israeli passports were detained in Bulgaria over the weekend, The Sofia Globe reported. The men were detained at the Bulgarian border as they attempted to enter the Kapitan Andreevo crossing from Turkey – a major transit point for entering Europe, the report said. It is unclear though, how they managed to travel through Turkey without being detected. The three men, aged 21, 28 and 32 arrived on October 31 and carried Israeli passports that had been “falsified,” the Interior Ministry told the Bulgarian media. They were detained by border police and then taken to a detention center in Lyubimets, in the southeast portion of the country where “fast-track proceedings” – a way to quickly deport the individuals – were initiated. (Jerusalem Post)

11-07-2018
Syria Conflict

Iranian forces in Syria may present a threat to the US and in Iraq the Iranian threat is increasing, according to a new report from the US Department of Defense.

Iranian forces in Syria may present a threat to the US and in Iraq the Iranian threat is increasing, according to a new report from the US Department of Defense. The Lead Inspector General report on Operation Inherent Resolve was released on Tuesday and reviews the US role fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.  However the quarterly report, which covers operations from July to September of this year, notes that Iran is increasingly a threat to the US and examines how Washington is now changing its posture in Syria as the mission changes. In the last several months US officials have said that American troops would remain in Syria as long as Iranian troops were also present in the country. The US is now seeking to “leverage” its influence in Syria to remove Iran. (Jerusalem Post)

11-06-2018
Human Rights

Iran’s judiciary convicted at least 24 protesters, including two women, on vaguely defined national security charges, Human Rights Watch said.

Iran’s judiciary convicted at least 24 protesters, including two women, on vaguely defined national security charges, Human Rights Watch said today. Their prison sentences ranged from six months to six years. They were among more than 50 people arrested on August 2 during a protest in Tehran about deteriorating economic conditions and corruption. Authorities also arrested a human rights lawyer who had been convicted to three years in prison for reporting a protester’s death in detention on October 28. (Al-Arabiya)

11-05-2018
Extremism

Iran greeted the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions with air defense drills and an acknowledgement from President Hassan Rouhani the nation faces a "war situation," raising Mideast tensions as America's maximalist approach to the Islamic republic takes hold.

Iran greeted the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Monday with air defense drills and an acknowledgement from President Hassan Rouhani the nation faces a "war situation," raising Mideast tensions as America's maximalist approach to the Islamic republic takes hold. The sanctions end all the economic benefits America granted Tehran for its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, though Iran for now continues to abide by the accord that saw it limit its enrichment of uranium. While for now not threatening to resume higher enrichment, Iranian officials in recent months have made a point to threaten that could resume at any time faster than before. The new American sanctions particularly hurt Iran's vital oil industry, a crucial source of hard currency for its anemic economy. Its national currency has plummeted over the last year, sending prices for everything from mobile phones to medicine skyrocketing. (Associated Press)

11-04-2018
Terrorism

Iran's powerful Guardian Council rejected a bill on joining the UN convention against terrorist financing seen as crucial to maintaining trade and banking ties with the world.

Iran's powerful Guardian Council on Sunday rejected a bill on joining the UN convention against terrorist financing seen as crucial to maintaining trade and banking ties with the world. The conservative-dominated council, which oversees legislation passed by the parliament, said aspects of the bill were against Islamic law and the constitution and sent it back to lawmakers for revision. "The Guardian Council has in several sessions reviewed the bill... and it has considered it to have flaws and ambiguities," wrote spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaie on Twitter. The bill, narrowly passed by parliament on October 7, is one of four put forward by the government of President Hassan Rouhani in order to meet demands set by the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which monitors countries' efforts to tackle money-laundering and terrorist financing. (Agence France Presse)

10-25-2018
Human Rights

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, presented his report in his first mission, in front a UN panel in New York, criticizing the increase in executions and suppressions inside the Islamic Republic.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, Javid Rehman, presented his report in his first mission, in front a UN panel in New York on Wednesday, with the United Kingdom, United States and the European Union criticizing the increase in executions and suppressions inside the Islamic Republic.

Rehman, a British-Pakistani legal scholar, reported that Iran has witnessed lately a wave of protests against the economic and living conditions which the authorities tried to suppress.

Rehman called on the Iranian government to allow him to visit the country in order to assess the human rights situation through interviews with Iranian citizens and to provide information on reports provided by international human rights organizations on violations, particularly executions, torture, suppression of freedom of assembly, opinion and expression, as well as depriving religious and ethnic minorities of their fundamental rights. (Al-Arabiya)

10-24-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran was closer to developing nuclear weapons than previously thought, according to a think tank report.

Iran was closer to developing nuclear weapons than previously thought, according to a think tank report issued late Tuesday. A report by the Institute for Science and International Security said that combining new information produced by the Mossad during its January raid on a Tehran warehouse along with satellite imagery “conclusively shows that the Parchin site did house high explosive chambers capable for use in nuclear weapons research and development.” While the focus of the report is Iran’s activities up until 2003, the premise of the report and of the documents which the Mossad appropriated from a site in Tehran (which had not been disclosed to the IAEA) is that the tests performed mean Iran could be capable of building a weapon faster than previously thought. (Jerusalem Post)

10-23-2018
Syria Conflict

Illicit exports of crude oil from Iran to Syria spiked in the first two weeks of October to roughly 150,000 barrels per day (bpd), more than twice the reported high for previous two-week periods this year.

Illicit exports of crude oil from Iran to Syria spiked in the first two weeks of October to roughly 150,000 barrels per day (bpd), more than twice the reported high for previous two-week periods this year. The shipments provide a crucial lifeline for the cash-strapped Assad regime, whose persistent evasion of U.S. and EU sanctions has yet to provoke fully effective enforcement measures. New data from both Bloomberg and Tanker Trackers indicate a surge of deliveries to the Assad regime, which has maintained control of Syria’s Mediterranean ports since the outbreak of war in 2011. Bloomberg reported 143,000 bpd of deliveries in the first two weeks of October, versus 71,000 bpd for the same period in September. Tanker Trackers estimated the flow at 156,000 bpd, versus 77,000 bpd for early September. While the pace of deliveries may vary substantially during a single month, the amount already received in these two weeks is significant. Even if Syria imported no Iranian oil for the rest of October, this monthly total would represent a peak for 2018. (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)

10-20-2018
Terrorism

American and western intelligence sources believe Iran has been increasing its shipments of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah, increasing the threat to Israel.

American and western intelligence sources believe Iran has been increasing its shipments of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah, deliveries that now include Global Positioning System (GPS) components to make previously unguided rockets into precision guided-missiles, increasing the threat to Israel. One of the Iranian flights arrived in Lebanon three days ago, officials tell Fox News. Iran’s Fars Air Qeshm flight number QFZ-9950 departed Tehran International Airport on Tuesday at 9:33 a.m. local time, and flew to an unknown destination, according to flight data obtained by Fox News. Later in the day, the Boeing 747 jet touched down in Syria’s capital Damascus before continuing on to Beirut, arriving just past 2 p.m., according to the flight tracker software. On Wednesday evening, the Iranian cargo plane departed Beirut for Doha, Qatar arriving just after midnight local time, and returned to Iran’s capital Thursday at 6:31 p.m. Western intelligence sources said the Iranian cargo plane carried weapons components, including GPS devices to make precision-guided weapons in Iranian factories inside Lebanon. (Fox News)

10-16-2018
Military

Iran has extended the range of its land-to-sea ballistic missiles to 700 km (435 miles), a senior Iranian military official said amid rising tensions with the United States over Tehran’s missile program.

Iran has extended the range of its land-to-sea ballistic missiles to 700 km (435 miles), a senior Iranian military official said on Tuesday amid rising tensions with the United States over Tehran’s missile program. U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program in May and reimposed sanctions on Tehran, saying the deal was flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran’s development of ballistic missiles or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq. Iran, which says its missile program is purely defensive, has threatened to disrupt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if the United States tries to strangle Iranian oil exports. “We have managed to make land-to-sea ballistic, not cruise, missiles that can hit any vessel or ship from 700 km,” Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ air space division, was quoted as saying by Fars news agency. (Reuters)

10-13-2018
Terrorism

An Al-Qaeda-linked militant group is using Iran as its main transit point for illegal charcoal exports from Somalia, enabling the group to earn millions of dollars in profits, a report to the UN Security Council seen by media says.

An Al-Qaeda-linked militant group is using Iran as its main transit point for illegal charcoal exports from Somalia, enabling the group to earn millions of dollars in profits, a report to the UN Security Council seen by media says. According to a report cited by AFP and Reuters on October 12, since March, the main destination for the illegal shipments has been ports in Iran, where the charcoal is packaged into white bags labelled "Product of Iran." The United Nations has banned Somali charcoal imports since 2012 to cut sources of revenue for Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate that generates revenues for its Islamist insurgency by levying taxes on charcoal production in the regions it controls. The UN estimates that, despite UN sanctions banning such exports, Somalia produced some 3.6 million bags of charcoal in 2017 for export, generating some $7.5 million in revenue for Al-Shabaab. (RFE/RL)

10-12-2018
Syria Conflict

The chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says Iran will give a crushing response to any threat to its security even if it requires extraterritorial operations.

The chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says Iran will give a crushing response to any threat to its security even if it requires extraterritorial operations.

“Iran will never avoid giving response [to threats] beyond its borders if its security is put in danger,” Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari told Yemen’s al-Masirah TV on Friday.

General Jafari also referred to US President Donald Trump’s claim that his administration has decreased the Islamic Republic’s power, and said, “If in the past we could defend the Southwest Asia … in 12 minutes, we can do it now in a shorter time.”

The Iranian commander’s remarks came after Trump claimed on Tuesday Iran planned to take control of the Middle East in just “12 minutes.” (Press TV)

10-09-2018
Terrorism

Criminal networks are using Iran as a transit point for illicit Somali charcoal exports that earn Islamist militants al Shabaab millions of dollars annually in tax, U.N. sanctions monitors said in a report seen by Reuters.

Criminal networks are using Iran as a transit point for illicit Somali charcoal exports that earn Islamist militants al Shabaab millions of dollars annually in tax, U.N. sanctions monitors said in a report seen by Reuters.

In the unpublished annual report to the U.N. Security Council, the monitors add that domestic revenue generation by al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab “is more geographically diversified and systematic” than that of Somalia’s federal government.

The report says that since March the main destination for shipments - using fake country of origin certificates from Comoros, Ivory Coast and Ghana - has been ports in Iran, where the charcoal is packaged into white bags labeled “Product of Iran”.

“The bags were then reloaded onto smaller, Iran-flagged dhows (boats), and exported to Port Al Hamriya, Dubai, UAE, using certificates of origin falsely indicating the ‘country of manufacture’ of the charcoal as Iran,” the monitors wrote. (Reuters)

10-09-2018
Terrorism

A network of Hezbollah hackers posed as attractive women on social media to dupe users into downloading dangerous software, allowing them to hack into mobile devices across the world.

A network of Hezbollah hackers used old tricks on social media to hack into mobile devices across the world. Posing as attractive girls on Facebook, they would contact users and start chatting. After steering the conversation to increasingly sensual topics, the profiles would then ask the user to install a ‘more private and secure application‘.

According to the counterintelligence service’s press release, some impassioned users, mostly men, would comply and install the app. Unaware that it gave hackers access to their sensitive information, including contacts, photographs, calls, text messages, GPS data and the option to secretly record the owner via the mobile device.

The hacking attacks through servers placed in the Czech Republic, the wider EU and the US, originated from the middle east. They were aimed at various regions across the world including Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East itself. (Radio Praha)

10-02-2018
Syria Conflict

The United States accused Iran of recklessly firing missiles into southern Syria, an area where American troops are operating, but said the missiles did not come close to hitting U.S. forces.

The United States on Tuesday accused Iran of recklessly firing missiles into southern Syria, an area where American troops are operating, but said the missiles did not come close to hitting U.S. forces. A Pentagon statement called the Monday attack “reckless, unsafe and escalatory.” The U.S. would not say precisely where the barrage of six missiles landed in relation to U.S. troops, but a spokesman said they were never in direct danger of being hit. (Washington Examiner)

10-02-2018
Terrorism

French police detained three people and seized weapons during raids of a dozen homes.

French police detained three people and seized weapons during raids of a dozen homes and the headquarters of a Muslim association based outside the port city of Dunkirk during an anti-terrorism operation early Tuesday, officials said. Authorities froze the funds of the Centre Zahra France, along with those of three other organizations and four men linked to the groups. Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the prefecture of the region was in the process of closing the prayer room of Zahra France, headquartered in Grande-Synthe. He said the three detained were taken in for illegal weapons possession. Police didn’t say what types of weapons were found. About 200 police officers searched homes and the headquarters of the association. Some French media reports said that Zahra France was a leading center for Shiite Islam in Europe and is suspected of links to Iranian-backed Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, and to the Palestinian Hamas. The information couldn’t be immediately confirmed. (Times of Israel)

10-02-2018
Human Rights

Iran has executed a female victim of domestic and sexual violence who was convicted of killing her husband when she was a minor following a 2014 “grossly unfair trial,” according to Amnesty International.

Iran has executed a female victim of domestic and sexual violence who was convicted of killing her husband when she was a minor, according to Amnesty International. The execution of Zeinab Sekaanvand is "profoundly unjust and shows the Iranian authorities' contempt for the right of children to life," the London-based human rights watchdog said on October 2. A statement said the 24-year-old was hanged early in the day in Urumieh central prison in West Azerbaijan province. An ethnic Kurd, Sekaanvand was 15 when she married her husband, according to Amnesty, and she was sentenced to death in October 2014 following a "grossly unfair trial" for allegedly stabbing him to death. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty)

09-29-2018
Military

The Iranian Navy on Saturday boasted that it possessed airships capable of carrying out the swiftest missile strikes in the world against enemy targets.

The Iranian Navy on Saturday boasted that it possessed airships capable of carrying out the swiftest missile strikes in the world against enemy targets. The commander of the Iranian Navy’s Airborne Unit General Pilot Mansour Rouh Ol-Amini told the Fars News Agency that the country had “two models of BH7 and SRN6 airships and they have given us the capacity to declare that we now have the swiftest missile platforms that can fly at a high-speed and leave the region after fire.” (Times of Israel)

09-29-2018
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s state TV has broadcast footage purporting to show a close encounter between the Revolutionary Guard’s navy and the USS Theodore Roosevelt early this year.

Iran’s state TV has broadcast footage purporting to show a close encounter between the Revolutionary Guard’s navy and the USS Theodore Roosevelt early this year. PressTV’s website says the encounter occurred March 21 in the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea. The TV agency says the video was aired Saturday as part of a documentary. The footage is likely meant as a show of strength amid new U.S. sanctions on Iran and the Trump administration plans to bring Iranian oil exports down to zero. In the video, Guard speedboats are seen closing in on the U.S. carrier. (Associated Press)

09-28-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards told Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to respect Tehran’s “red lines” or face retaliation, as the United States and its Gulf allies increase pressure on Tehran to curb its regional influence.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards told Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Friday to respect Tehran’s “red lines” or face retaliation, as the United States and its Gulf allies increase pressure on Tehran to curb its regional influence. Iran accuses Saudi Arabia and the UAE of funding five gunmen who attacked a military parade in Iran on Sept. 22 and killed 25 people, 12 of them members of the elite Guards. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have denied any involvement. The Revolutionary Guards have vowed to exact “deadly and unforgettable” vengeance. “If you cross our red lines, we will surely cross yours. You know the storm the Iranian nation can create,” the Fars news agency quoted Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy head of the Guards, as saying. (Reuters)

09-27-2018
Terrorism

The Israeli military released a video clip and photos of what it said were Hezbollah Shi’ite militia rocket building sites in Lebanon.

The Israeli military on Thursday released a video clip and photos of what it said were Hezbollah Shi’ite militia rocket building sites in Lebanon. The images were distributed minutes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.N. General Assembly that Israel had evidence that Iran was helping Hezbollah give its missiles precision-guided accuracy. “In Lebanon, Iran is directing Hezbollah to build secret sites to convert inaccurate projectiles into precision-guided missiles, missiles that can target deep inside Israel within an accuracy of 10 metres (yards),” he said. (Reuters)

09-27-2018
Syria Conflict

A US intelligence assessment has concluded that Iranian-backed militias and proxy forces could be planning a strike against US military forces or interests in the Middle East, according to three defense officials.

A US intelligence assessment conducted in recent days has concluded that Iranian-backed militias and proxy forces could be planning a strike against US military forces or interests in the Middle East, according to three defense officials. Officials emphasize their concern centers around the threat from those militias located in Syria and several other locations in the Middle East. They all describe the potential threat as ongoing and worrisome. However, they would not describe the specific intelligence that continues to be gathered. These militias have increased access to ballistic missile and other advanced weapons inventories as Iran continues to move weaponry into Syria. While there are no specific indicators of an Iranian attack, the concerns stem in part from Iran's statements that the US was one of the countries behind an attack on an Iranian military parade this month that killed at least 29 people. (CNN)

09-25-2018
Syria Conflict

An Iranian media outlet close to the hard-line Revolutionary Guard published a video threatening missile attacks on the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, further raising tensions after a weekend militant attack on an Iranian military

An Iranian media outlet close to the hard-line Revolutionary Guard published a video Tuesday threatening missile attacks on the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, further raising tensions after a weekend militant attack on an Iranian military parade. The video, in a tweet by the semi-official Fars news agency that was later deleted, comes as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed Riyadh and Abu Dhabi for the attack in the city of Ahvaz on Saturday, which killed at least 24 people and wounded over 60. Saudi Arabia adamantly rejected the allegations. The threat amplifies the unease felt across the Persian Gulf, as Iran’s economy reels in the wake of America’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and Saudi and Emirati forces are bogged down in their war against Iran-aligned rebels in Yemen. (The Associated Press)

09-25-2018
Syria Conflict

Bahrain's attorney general charged nearly 170 people on Tuesday with forming a Shiite "terrorist organisation" named for Lebanon's famed militant group Hezbollah.

Bahrain's attorney general charged nearly 170 people on Tuesday with forming a Shiite "terrorist organisation" named for Lebanon's famed militant group Hezbollah. The small but strategic Gulf Arab kingdom has been dogged by persistent low-level violence since 2011 when its Sunni minority rulers bloodily suppressed Shiite-led protests for a constitutional monarchy with an elected prime minister. The authorities have repeatedly accused Shiite Iran and it allies, including Hezbollah, of fomenting the unrest. Iran denies the charge. Attorney general Ahmad al-Hamadi said 169 people, 111 of whom are in custody, will be tried for "forming a terrorist organisation... under the name Bahrain Hezbollah" in collaboration with the Iranian intelligence services. (Agence France Presse)

09-21-2018
Military

Iran’s air force is carrying out a drill near the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea, the country’s official IRNA news agency said.

Iran’s air force is carrying out a drill near the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea, the country’s official IRNA news agency said Friday. The drill involves the military’s and Revolutionary Guard fighter jets, including U.S.-made F-4, French Mirage and Russian Sukhoi-22 planes, the report said, adding that five logistics and combat helicopters are also taking part in the exercise over the Persian Gulf waters and the Sea of Oman. IRNA said the maneuver is a warning to Iran’s enemies that they face a quick, “stern response” in case of any ill-will toward Iran. (Associated Press)

09-20-2018
Syria Conflict

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that his group is getting precision rockets despite Israeli actions to cut smuggling routes through Syria.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Thursday that his group is getting precision rockets despite Israeli actions to cut smuggling routes through Syria. Israel on Monday attacked a facility near the coastal Syrian city of Latakia, which it said was used by the Syrian military to transfer weapons manufacturing systems to Iran and Hezbollah. "No matter what you do to cut the route, the matter is over and the resistance possesses precision and non-precision rockets and weapons capabilities," Nasrallah said, addressing Israel in a broadcast speech. (Ha’aretz)

09-20-2018
Terrorism

Iran continues to wreak havoc in the Middle East by allowing Al Qaeda to maintain a "facilitation base" within the Islamic Republic's borders, according to the U.S State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism.

Iran continues to wreak havoc in the Middle East by allowing Al Qaeda to maintain a "facilitation base" within the Islamic Republic's borders, according to the U.S State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism. The report, released this week, reinforces assessments published in years past that not only does Iran enable Al Qaeda to conduct global operations from within its borders, but also remains "unwilling to bring to justice senior Al Qaeda members residing in Iran and has refused to publicly identify the members in its custody.” “This has been known within the U.S. intelligence community for years. Although Iran and Al Qaeda are at odds in Syria and Yemen, the Iranian regime has allowed this 'core pipeline' to exist since well before Osama bin Laden's death,” said Tom Joscelyn, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), and Senior Editor of the Long War Journal. (Fox News)

09-19-2018
Terrorism

The United States has once again named Iran as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, accusing it of fueling conflicts and undermining governments throughout the Middle East.

The United States has once again named Iran as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, accusing it of fueling conflicts and undermining governments throughout the Middle East. An annual survey on global terrorism, released by the State Department on September 19, said Iran and its proxies are responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining U.S. interests in the region. "Designated as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984, Iran continued its terrorist-related activity in 2017, including support for Lebanese Hizballah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Syria, Iraq, and throughout the Middle East," the report said. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

09-18-2018
Terrorism

An Iranian government-aligned group of hackers launched a major campaign targeting Mideast energy firms and others ahead of U.S. sanctions on Iran, a cybersecurity firm said, warning further attacks remain possible as America re-imposes others on Tehran.

An Iranian government-aligned group of hackers launched a major campaign targeting Mideast energy firms and others ahead of U.S. sanctions on Iran, a cybersecurity firm said Tuesday, warning further attacks remain possible as America re-imposes others on Tehran. While the firm FireEye says the so-called "spear-phishing" email campaign only involves hackers stealing information from infected computers, it involves a similar type of malware previously used to inject a program that destroyed tens of thousands of terminals in Saudi Arabia. The firm warns that raises the danger level ahead of America re-imposing crushing sanctions on Iran's oil industry in early November. A grand jury has indicted 12 Russian nationals for computer hacking aimed at interfering in the 2016 U.S. election. "Whenever we see Iranian threat groups active in this region, particularly in line with geopolitical events, we have to be concerned they might either be engaged in or pre-positioning for a disruptive attack," Alister Shepherd, a director for a FireEye subsidiary, told The Associated Press. (Associated Press)

09-15-2018
Human Rights

Iranian media are reporting that the country's General Prosecutor has ordered the closure of a reformist newspaper on charges of insulting the Shiite religion.

Iranian media are reporting that the country's General Prosecutor has ordered the closure of a reformist newspaper on charges of insulting the Shiite religion. The Friday reports say that the "Sedayeh Eslahat" newspaper was ordered shut down for publishing an article on female-to-male gender reassignment surgery. The prosecutor, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, ordered the editor be punished, too, the reports said. On Thursday, a headline on the newspaper's front page read: "Ruqayyah became Mahdi after 22 years." (Associated Press)

09-13-2018
Syria Conflict

The chief of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps said that Tehran’s missile attack on an Iranian Kurdish rebel base in northern Iraq last week was a warning to hostile powers, Iranian state television reported.

The chief of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps said on Thursday that Tehran’s missile attack on an Iranian Kurdish rebel base in northern Iraq last week was a warning to hostile powers, Iranian state television reported. The Guards fired seven missiles at the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), an armed opposition group that fights for greater autonomy for Iran’s Kurdish community. “The attack against the terrorists in Iraq’s Kurdistan conveys a message to the enemies, particularly those superpowers who think they can impose their evil plots on Iran and bully us,” state TV quoted Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari as saying. Iran has repeatedly threatened to destroy U.S. military bases across the Middle East and target Israel within minutes if attacked by the United States and its regional allies. “All those who have forces, bases and equipment within a 2,000 km (1,200 mile) radius should know that our missiles are highly precise.” (Reuters)

09-11-2018
Extremism

The White House said Iranian-backed militias in Iraq had carried out “life-threatening attacks” against the U.S. consulate in Basra and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and warned Washington would hold Tehran responsible if there are future assaults.

The White House said Iranian-backed militias in Iraq had carried out “life-threatening attacks” against the U.S. consulate in Basra and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and warned Washington would hold Tehran responsible if there are future assaults. “The United States will hold the regime in Tehran accountable for any attack that results in injury to our personnel or damage to United States government facilities,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Tuesday. “America will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of American lives.” The statement followed an attack on Saturday in which several rockets were fired at the Basra airport, where the U.S. consulate is located. At least one rocket also was fired at the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, where the U.S. Embassy is based, and mortar fire also struck the Green Zone earlier in the week. No Americans were injured and no U.S. property was hit in the attacks. (Wall Street Journal)

09-10-2018
Extremism

A top Iranian military leader, warned that Iran is plotting strikes outside of its own borders and will even go "beyond the seas" to carry out attacks on those it perceives as enemies.

A top Iranian military leader warned on Monday that Iran is plotting strikes outside of its own borders and will even go "beyond the seas" to carry out attacks on those it perceives as enemies, statements that further highlight Iran's clandestine operations inside the United States and in Europe. "We warn the enemies of the Islamic Revolution that if they make an aggression against the Islamic Iran, we will chase and punish them not only outside the borders but also beyond the seas," General Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top aide to Iran's Supreme Leader, was quoted as saying on Monday in remarks in Tehran. (Washington Free Beacon)

09-09-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard claimed responsibility for a missile attack targeting an Iraqi base of a Kurdish separatist group.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Sunday claimed responsibility for a missile attack targeting an Iraqi base of a Kurdish separatist group. Iranian state television aired footage of surface-to-surface missiles launching Saturday toward the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan base in Iraq, as well as drone footage of the base in the aftermath of the strike, which the separatists say killed at least 11 people and wounded 50. The footage’s release appeared to be a stark warning by the Guard to the separatist group, known by the acronym PDKI, which has resumed hit-and-run attacks in Iran after some two decades of uneasy peace. A Kurdish attack in July killed at least 10 Iranian border guards, likely sparking the Guard’s show of force. (Associated Press)

09-09-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran has completed a facility to build advanced centrifuges, Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as saying, as Tehran prepares to increase its uranium-enrichment capacity if the nuclear deal collapses after the United States exits.

Iran has completed a facility to build advanced centrifuges, Iran’s nuclear chief was quoted on Sunday as saying, as Tehran prepares to increase its uranium-enrichment capacity if the nuclear deal collapses after the United States exits. In June, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the facility at the Natanz nuclear plant would be completed within a month. Salehi’s statement in June came days after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he had ordered preparations to increase the country’s uranium enrichment capacity if the nuclear agreement with world powers collapsed. On Sunday, the official news agency IRNA quoted Salehi as saying: “(Ayatollah Khamenei) had ordered us to set up and complete a very advanced hall for the construction of modern centrifuges, and this hall has now been fully equipped and set up.” (Reuters)

09-08-2018
Human Rights

Iran says it has executed three Iranian Kurds accused of belonging to a militant group and taking part in attacks against civilians and security forces in western Iran.

Iran says it has executed three Iranian Kurds accused of belonging to a militant group and taking part in attacks against civilians and security forces in western Iran. The executions reportedly took place despite calls by UN human rights special rapporteurs Javaid Rehman and Agnes Callamard, who said in a statement on September 7 that the men had not been given a fair trial. Amnesty International said the men had been denied access to their lawyers after being arrested and had said they were tortured into making confessions. "We are horrified by the news that the Iranian authorities have executed these men, despite widespread condemnation of their death sentences and calls from UN human rights experts and other bodies to halt their executions," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's research and advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa, in a September 8 statement. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

09-08-2018
Syria Conflict

Authorities in Bahrain say they've arrested 14 Iranians they allege entered the island nation on "forged Asian passports."

Authorities in Bahrain say they've arrested 14 Iranians they allege entered the island nation on "forged Asian passports." Bahrain's Interior Ministry made the announcement Saturday night, saying those arrested paid for the Asian passports in cash to be able to enter the island off Saudi Arabia. The statement did not identify those arrested, nor did it offer a motive for their entry into Bahrain. (Associated Press)

09-06-2018
Extremism

An Israeli cybersecurity firm announced Thursday it had uncovered three Iran-run fake Hebrew and Arabic news sites targeting Israelis, as well as a score of fake social media accounts.

An Israeli cybersecurity firm announced Thursday it had uncovered three Iran-run fake Hebrew and Arabic news sites targeting Israelis, as well as a score of fake social media accounts. ClearSky said one of the sites is the Hebrew-language Tel Aviv Times, which engages in “distorting news,” and the other two are Arabic language news outlets that promote the Islamic Republic. It also said there were 14 fake Facebook profiles and 11 fake Twitter accounts that were part of this Iranian “infrastructure,” which have thousands of followers between them, though many of them closed down after being uncovered by ClearSky, the company said. (Times of Israel)

09-05-2018
Human Rights

With four more Iranian human rights defenders arrested in Tehran since August 31, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the country’s authorities have "ramped up" their crackdown against activists.

With four more Iranian human rights defenders arrested in Tehran since August 31, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the country’s authorities have "ramped up" their crackdown against activists. "The most reputable rights defenders, who have stepped up to be the messenger for millions of Iranians' discontent, are now in jail," Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at HRW, said in a statement on September 5. The New York-based watchdog called on the authorities to immediately release the jailed human rights defenders, saying they appear to have been arrested "solely for peaceful dissent." (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

09-05-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran will begin uranium enrichment beyond previous levels if the remaining parties fail to uphold the 2015 nuclear deal, its Atomic Energy Organisation told local media on Wednesday.

Iran will begin uranium enrichment beyond previous levels if the remaining parties fail to uphold the 2015 nuclear deal, its Atomic Energy Organisation told local media on Wednesday. "We will not return to previous levels if our counterparts leave the JCPOA (nuclear deal), but will instead reach even more advanced levels," the organisation's spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said, quoted by state broadcaster IRIB. "We are at a considerably more advanced status than when we signed the deal. The country is moving ahead in nuclear activities at a favourable pace," he added. (Agence France Presse)

09-04-2018
Human Rights

Iranian authorities have detained Reza Khandan, the husband of prominent jailed human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.

Iranian authorities have detained Reza Khandan, the husband of prominent jailed human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. Khandan's arrest early on September 4 comes just hours after he raised concerns in a Facebook post about human rights violations in Iran, including the imprisonment of human rights defenders and the prosecution of women who have campaigned against the Islamic hijab. Khandan has publicly campaigned for the release of his wife, who was arrested in June. A source who did not want to be named told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that charges against Khandan include acting against national security and promoting "anti-hijab" activities. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

09-03-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said at the start of a visit to Damascus that “terrorists must be purged” from Syria’s Idlib and the entire northwestern province returned to government control.

Iran’s foreign minister said at the start of a visit to Damascus on Monday that “terrorists must be purged” from Syria’s Idlib and the entire northwestern province returned to government control. Mohammad Javad Zarif’s comments in Damascus were reported by Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency and came as Syrian forces and their allies are preparing for an assault on Idlib, the last opposition stronghold in the country. “Syria’s territorial integrity should be safeguarded and all tribes and groups, as one society, should start the reconstruction process, and the refugees should return to their homes,” Zarif said. (Associated Press)

09-03-2018
Terrorism

An Iranian aviation company is suspected of smuggling arms into Lebanon.

An Iranian civil aviation company is suspected of smuggling arms into Lebanon, destined for the militant group Hezbollah and Iranian weapons factories -- and western intelligence sources said Monday they've uncovered the unexpected routes that Iran apparently took to try avoiding detection. The sources identified two rare and unusual Qeshm Fars Air flights from Tehran to the international airport in Beirut during the past two months. The first flight, on July 9, involved a Boeing 747 that departed from an air force base in Tehran, stopped for a short layover at the international airport in Damascus, Syria, and then continued with a rather “uncharacteristic flight path” to the Beirut international airport, where it landed shortly after 4 p.m. local time. According to flight data obtained by Fox News, the route passed over northern Lebanon, not following any commonly used flight path. A regional intelligence source who asked to remain anonymous said: “The Iranians are trying to come up with new ways and routes to smuggle weapons from Iran to its allies in the Middle East, testing and defying the West’s abilities to track them down.” (Fox News)

09-01-2018
Military

Iran plans to boost its ballistic and cruise missile capacity and acquire modern fighter planes and submarines, the Iranian state news agency IRNA quoted a senior Defence Ministry official as saying.

Iran plans to boost its ballistic and cruise missile capacity and acquire modern fighter planes and submarines, the Iranian state news agency IRNA quoted a senior Defence Ministry official as saying on Saturday. News of the military development plans came a day after Iran dismissed a French call for negotiations on Tehran’s future nuclear plans, its ballistic missile arsenal and its role in wars in Syria and Yemen, following the U.S. pullout from Tehran’s nuclear agreement with world powers. State media also reported the launch earlier this week of war games involving some 150,000 volunteer Basij militia members, who vowed to defend the Islamic state against “foreign threats” including its arch foe, the United States. (Reuters)

08-31-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran has given ballistic missiles to Shi’ite proxies in Iraq and is developing the capacity to build more there to deter attacks on its interests in the Middle East and to give it the means to hit regional foes, Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources said.

Iran has given ballistic missiles to Shi’ite proxies in Iraq and is developing the capacity to build more there to deter attacks on its interests in the Middle East and to give it the means to hit regional foes, Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources said. Any sign that Iran is preparing a more aggressive missile policy in Iraq will exacerbate tensions between Tehran and Washington, already heightened by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. It would also embarrass France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the three European signatories to the nuclear deal, as they have been trying to salvage the agreement despite new U.S. sanctions against Tehran. According to three Iranian officials, two Iraqi intelligence sources and two Western intelligence sources, Iran has transferred short-range ballistic missiles to allies in Iraq over the last few months. Five of the officials said it was helping those groups to start making their own. (Reuters)

08-30-2018
Syria Conflict

Satellite photos purported to show the establishment of an Iranian surface-to-surface missile factory in Syria, raising fresh concerns over the extent of the two countries’ military cooperation on Israel’s northern border.

Satellite photos published Thursday purported to show the establishment of an Iranian surface-to-surface missile factory in Syria, raising fresh concerns over the extent of the two countries’ military cooperation on Israel’s northern border. The photos, which were taken by ImageSat International and published by Channel 10 news, were said to show a facility outside Wadi Jahannam in northwest Syria resembling Iran’s Parchin facility, which has been linked to the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs. Beyond noting an apparent surge in construction work at the site and the building’s seeming similarity to Parchin, Channel 10 did not say how it was identified as a missile factory. (Times of Israel)

08-30-2018
Anti-Americanism

Iran's most senior general has threatened to shut down the world's busiest oil chokepoint if the U.S. manages to completely cut his country's oil and gas trade.

Iran's most senior general has threatened to shut down the world's busiest oil chokepoint if the U.S. manages to completely cut his country's oil and gas trade. Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, the head of the Iranian military's chief of staff, told naval commanders of the country's elite Revolutionary Guards force Thursday that the entire third of the world's oil that passes through the Persian Gulf's Strait of Hormuz would be stopped in the event that President Donald Trump's policies succeeded in reducing Iran's oil exports to zero, according to the semi-official Mehr News Agency. Trump has abandoned a historic nuclear deal with Iran and has reimposed unilateral sanctions intended to strangle the Shiite Muslim revolutionary's economy. (Newsweek)

08-29-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran could abandon its nuclear accord with world powers after the U.S. withdrawal if it does not serve its interests, casting doubt on negotiations with European countries to salvage the deal.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran could abandon its nuclear accord with world powers after the U.S. withdrawal if it does not serve its interests, casting doubt on negotiations with European countries to salvage the deal. “The nuclear deal is a means, not the goal, and if we come to this conclusion that it does not serve our national interests, we can abandon it,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by his official website on Wednesday. He said Tehran should “give up hope” on Europe to save the deal. (Reuters)

08-28-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran will maintain its military presence in Syria despite U.S. pressure for its withdrawal, a senior Iranian official said on Tuesday, revealing more details about a military cooperation deal that Tehran and Damascus signed this week.

Iran will maintain its military presence in Syria despite U.S. pressure for its withdrawal, a senior Iranian official said on Tuesday, revealing more details about a military cooperation deal that Tehran and Damascus signed this week. Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami visited Damascus on Saturday for talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and senior military officials. He signed a deal for military cooperation in a meeting with his Syrian counterpart, but details of the accord were not revealed. “The continued presence of Iranian (military) advisers in Syria was part of this military cooperation agreement between Tehran and Damascus,” the state news agency IRNA quoted Tehran’s military attache to Damascus, Abolqassem Alinejad, as saying. (Reuters)

08-28-2018
Extremism

An apparent Iranian influence operation targeting internet users worldwide is significantly bigger than previously identified, Reuters has found, encompassing a sprawling network of anonymous websites and social media accounts in 11 different languages.

An apparent Iranian influence operation targeting internet users worldwide is significantly bigger than previously identified, Reuters has found, encompassing a sprawling network of anonymous websites and social media accounts in 11 different languages. Facebook and other companies said last week that multiple social media accounts and websites were part of an Iranian project to covertly influence public opinion in other countries. A Reuters analysis has identified 10 more sites and dozens of social media accounts across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. U.S.-based cyber security firm FireEye Inc and Israeli firm ClearSky reviewed Reuters’ findings and said technical indicators showed the web of newly-identified sites and social media accounts - called the International Union of Virtual Media, or IUVM - was a piece of the same campaign, parts of which were taken down last week by Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc. (Reuters)

08-26-2018
Human Rights

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a detained British-Iranian aid worker sentenced to five years in jail in Iran, was returned to prison after a request to extend her three-day temporary release was rejected, her husband said.

A detained British-Iranian aid worker sentenced to five years in jail in Iran was returned to prison on Sunday after a request to extend her three-day temporary release was rejected, her husband said. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she was heading back to Britain with her two-year-old daughter after a family visit. She was convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment, a charge denied by her family and the Foundation, a charity organization that is independent of Thomson Reuters and operates independently of Reuters News. (Reuters)

08-25-2018
Terrorism

Hackers linked with the Iranian government are targeting universities and academic institutions around the world as part of a major campaign to steal unpublished research and obtain intellectual property, security researchers have revealed.

Hackers linked with the Iranian government are targeting universities and academic institutions around the world as part of a major campaign to steal unpublished research and obtain intellectual property, security researchers have revealed. Cyber experts from IT firm Secureworks discovered the attacks, which they believe stem from the Cobalt Dickens group operating out of Iran. The hackers targeted 76 universities located in 14 countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. (The Independent)

08-23-2018
Extremism

Google said that it had removed 58 accounts on its various services that it found had connections to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Iran's state media organization.

Iran's covert social media-based propaganda campaign extended to Google and its video platform YouTube, the company said Thursday. Google said that it had removed 58 accounts on its various services that it found had connections to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Iran's state media organization. The U.S. blacklisted IRIB in 2013 as part of its efforts to force the country to stop its nuclear program. The search company is at least the third Silicon Valley firm this week to say it had found evidence of an Iran-based effort to use fake names to push political content to people in the U.S. and other countries. Facebook and Twitter said Tuesday that they had removed such accounts. (NBC News)

08-22-2018
Military

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said it will continue increasing the country’s defensive capabilities and will not surrender to pressure over its missile program.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said on Wednesday it will continue increasing the country’s defensive capabilities, and will not surrender to pressure over its missile program. “(Iran’s) missile program has turned into the main challenge of the enemies of the Iranian nation, especially the United States, the Zionist regime (of Israel) and the Saudi rulers," the IRGC said in a statement carried by the Tasnim news agency. “Increasing defensive capabilities will remain the main strategy of the armed forces.” (Reuters)

08-22-2018
Terrorism

The U.S. has charged two alleged agents of Iran, accusing them of conducting covert surveillance of Israeli and Jewish facilities in the United States and collecting intelligence on Americans linked to a political organization.

The U.S. has charged two alleged agents of Iran, accusing them of conducting covert surveillance of Israeli and Jewish facilities in the United States and collecting intelligence on Americans linked to a political organization that wants to see the current Iranian government overthrown. A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington says the pair with links to both Iran and California were involved in conducting surveillance last year on several Jewish centers, specifically Hillel Center and Rohr Chabad Center in Chicago. Charged were Ahmadreza (ahmad-RAY-zuh) Doostdar (DOOS-dar) and Majid (mah-JEED) Ghorbani (gore-BAH-nee). They also are accused of working to penetrate an Iranian dissident group in the United States and sending intelligence and photographs of individuals attending the group's rallies back to Tehran. (Associated Press)

08-21-2018
Military

Iran revealed what is said was its first-ever domestic fighter jet in a show of force that appeared to be aimed at the US amid increasing tensions over Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Tehran.

Iran revealed what is said was its first-ever domestic fighter jet on Tuesday in a show of force that appeared to be aimed at the US amid increasing tensions over Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Tehran. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was pictured in the cockpit of the new “Kowsar” fourth-generation fighter at the National Defence Industry exhibition in the Iranian capital. The photos and reports of the new fighter jet were widely circulated by Iranian state media and regime-aligned outlets. State media said the jet has “advanced avionics” and a multi-purpose radar. It claimed it was "100-percent indigenously made" for the first time in Iranian history. (The National)

08-21-2018
Extremism

Facebook said it had removed hundreds of Iran-based pages, groups and accounts, alleging that they formed a network linked to Iranian state media that covertly spread political content to people on four continents including in the U.S.

Facebook said on Tuesday it had removed hundreds of Iran-based pages, groups and accounts, alleging that they formed a network linked to Iranian state media that covertly spread political content to people on four continents including in the U.S. Facebook said in a blog post that the 652 pages, groups and accounts were in violation of its terms of service because they were engaged in "coordinated inauthentic behavior." Facebook generally requires people to use their real names on the social network. Twitter followed suit, saying it had suspended 284 accounts for engaging in "coordinated manipulation" on its network and that many of the accounts had originated in Iran. (NBC News)

08-20-2018
Human Rights

An Iranian journalist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for “insulting” an imam from the ninth century on Twitter, his lawyer told local media on Monday.

An Iranian journalist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for “insulting” an imam from the ninth century on Twitter, his lawyer told local media on Monday. Mir Mohammad-Hossein Mir-Esmaili, a journalist for the Jahan-e Sanat daily, was arrested while trying to leave the country in April 2017. It followed a Twitter post in which he said Imam Reza, one of the 12 revered figures in Iran’s dominant strand of Shiite Islam, was “one of us,” implying that he would have allowed young people to enjoy themselves. (AFP)

08-17-2018
Human Rights

An Iranian news outlet focusing on Iran’s Gonabadi Dervish minority says two of its editors have received lengthy prison sentences for involvement in anti-government protests in February.

An Iranian news outlet focusing on Iran’s Gonabadi Dervish minority says two of its editors have received lengthy prison sentences for involvement in anti-government protests in February. In a tweet posted Thursday, Majzooban Noor said a Tehran Revolutionary court sentenced news editor Reza Entesari to seven years in prison, 74 lashes, two years of exile in the northeastern city of Khaf, a two-year ban on leaving the country and a two-year ban on political and media activity. In an earlier tweet published Wednesday, the news outlet said another of its editors, Mostafa Abdi, received an even tougher punishment from a Tehran Revolutionary court. It said Abdi was sentenced to 26 years and three months in prison and 148 lashes, in addition to two years of exile in the southeastern province of Sistan Baluchistan and two-year bans on leaving the country and engaging in political and media activity. (Voice of America)

08-17-2018
Human Rights

Forty young people have been detained at a mixed-gender “night party” in Birjand, the capital city of South Khorasan province, the local Prosecutor General has disclosed.

Forty young people have been detained at a mixed-gender “night party” in Birjand, the capital city of South Khorasan province, the local Prosecutor General has disclosed. The detainees are 20-30-year old, the Islamic Republic’s official News Agency, IRNA, cited the Prosecutor as saying. “The detainees, sixteen males and 24 females, were arrested and charged with drinking and storing alcoholic beverages, as well as other social misconduct”, said Ahmad Reza A’rab Sheibanei. (Radio Farda)

08-16-2018
Terrorism

A recent report by the United Nations indicates that terror group al Qaeda is having a resurgence around the world due in part to help from Iran.

A recent report by the United Nations indicates that terror group al Qaeda is having a resurgence around the world due in part to help from Iran. The report was delivered to the Security Council this week, Fox News reports, and said one of the world's biggest threats will come from al Qaeda under the leadership of Hamza bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's son. Al Qaeda has grown mostly in Somalia, Yemen, and South Asia, where it has a stronger presence than ISIS. The report also says that Iran is allowing al Qaeda leader Aiman al-Zawahiri to work and coordinate efforts from their country, as noted by the Tower. (Washington Free Beacon)

08-13-2018
Politics

Iran’s supreme leader made his sharpest criticism yet of his country’s president on Monday, faulting him for having crossed “red lines” in nuclear negotiations with the United States and other failures that have created an economic crisis.

Iran’s supreme leader made his sharpest criticism yet of his country’s president on Monday, faulting him for having crossed “red lines” in nuclear negotiations with the United States and other failures that have created an economic crisis. The remarks by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, compounded the pressure on Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, who is contending with economic protests, anger over endemic corruption, the threat of possible armed conflict with the United States and calls from Iran’s hard-line factions for resignations in his government. Mr. Rouhani’s promises that the 2015 nuclear agreement reached with the United States and other world powers would lead to an economic revival in Iran have been thwarted since the Trump administration renounced the agreement in May and moved to restore American sanctions. (New York Times)

08-13-2018
Military

Iran unveiled a next generation short-range ballistic missile on Monday and vowed to further boost its capabilities, Iranian media said, at a time of rising tensions with the United States.

Iran unveiled a next generation short-range ballistic missile on Monday and vowed to further boost its capabilities, Iranian media said, at a time of rising tensions with the United States. State broadcaster IRIB said the new Fateh Mobin missile had "successfully passed its tests" and could strike targets on land and sea. "As promised to our dear people, we will not spare any effort to increase the missile capabilities of the country and we will certainly increase our missile power every day," Defence Minister Amir Hatami said, quoted by conservative news agency Tasnim. (AFP)

08-11-2018
Human Rights

An Iran-based human rights group says dozens of Iranian security personnel have raided a prison ward housing minority Sunni inmates in the city of Karaj, beating the prisoners and taking their belongings.

An Iran-based human rights group says dozens of Iranian security personnel have raided a prison ward housing minority Sunni inmates in the city of Karaj, beating the prisoners and taking their belongings. In a report published Thursday, Iran’s Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) said it learned of Tuesday’s incident at the Rajaei Shahr prison in Karaj’s Gohardasht district from an informed source. HRANA, one of the few Iranian rights groups gathering reliable information from inside Iran, quoted the source as saying the prison raid targeted a ward housing Sunnis detained for their religious and political activities. (Voice of America)

08-11-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran announced it was taking back another portion of the 20 percent enriched uranium stockpile it handed over to Russia as part of the nuclear deal signed in 2015 with world powers in exchange for sanctions relief.

Iran on Saturday announced it was taking back another portion of the 20 percent enriched uranium stockpile it handed over to Russia as part of the nuclear deal signed in 2015 with world powers in exchange for sanctions relief. Spokesman and vice-president of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Behrouz Kamalvandi said the re-imposition of US sanctions following President Donald Trump’s exit in May from the accord necessitated returning the uranium for domestic needs. “If the fuel is sold to us, we do not need to produce it by ourselves,” Kamalvandi said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. (Times of Israel)

08-09-2018
Anti-Americanism

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told North Korea's foreign minister that the United States cannot be trusted, Tehran's state media said, as the United States seeks a deal to rein in the North's nuclear and missile programs.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told North Korea's foreign minister that the United States cannot be trusted, Tehran's state media said, as the United States seeks a deal to rein in the North's nuclear and missile programs. Iran dismissed a last-minute offer from Washington for talks this week, saying it could not negotiate after the Trump administration reneged on a 2015 deal to lift sanctions in return for curbs on Iran's own nuclear program. North Korea's top diplomat, Ri Yong Ho, visited Iran as the United States reintroduced sanctions against the Islamic Republic. "The U.S. administration performance in these years has led the country to be considered untrustworthy and unreliable around the world which does not meet any of its obligations," Rouhani was quoted by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) as telling Ri on Wednesday. (Reuters)

08-07-2018
Syria Conflict

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander admitted that the Houthi attack that targeted the two Saudi oil tankers in Bab al-Mandeb Strait was carried out as per a request from the Revolutionary Guards.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander admitted that the Houthi attack that targeted the two Saudi oil tankers in Bab al-Mandeb Strait was carried out as per a request from the Revolutionary Guards. According to the Iranian news agency Fars, the Revolutionary Guards Commander Nasser Shabani said: “We asked the Yemenis to attack the two Saudi oil tankers, so they did it.” The Fars News Agency deleted the article, which is considered a blatant admission by Iran of supporting the Houthi militias, minutes after publishing it. (Al-Arabiya)

08-07-2018
Terrorism

Iranian hackers are developing software attacks that render computer systems inoperable until a digital ransom is paid, a new report says, a threat that comes as the U.S. moves to reimpose tough economic sanctions on the country.

Iranian hackers are developing software attacks that render computer systems inoperable until a digital ransom is paid, a new report says, a threat that comes as the U.S. moves to reimpose tough economic sanctions on the country. Over the past two years, researchers at Accenture PLC’s iDefense cybersecurity-intelligence group have tracked five new types of so-called ransomware they say were built by hackers in Iran. The ransomware appears to be an attempt to secure payments in digital currencies such as bitcoin, Jim Guinn, head of Accenture’s industrial cybersecurity business, said in an interview. The software Accenture discovered contains a number of digital clues linking it to Iran. Some samples contain messages in the Farsi language and link to computers based in Iran, it said, while others are designed to avoid locking up Iranian computer systems with ransomware. (Wall Street Journal)

08-03-2018
Terrorism

A slate of investigations into alleged terror plots and killings sponsored by Iran has opened a new front in U.S. efforts to persuade European governments to cut ties with Tehran following President Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May.

A slate of investigations into alleged terror plots and killings sponsored by Iran has opened a new front in U.S. efforts to persuade European governments to cut ties with Tehran following President Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May. Washington, Israel and Iranian dissident groups say the alleged recent operations show that Iran has ended years of caution about hunting its enemies in Europe. They are urging European governments to withdraw support for Iran and ban Iranian officials from the region. But European officials, some skeptical that Iran’s government is behind the plots, are reluctant to adopt a harder line. (Wall Street Journal)

08-02-2018
Nuclear Program

A suspected attempt to fly missile warhead components to Iran via Heathrow has been thwarted by the UK Border Force.

A suspected attempt to fly missile warhead components to Iran via Heathrow has been thwarted by the UK Border Force. At least two “O rings” — which can be used to form seals in rockets — were detected during an inspection of freight being flown out from the airport. They were supposedly being sent for use in the Iranian oil industry. But Border Force staff halted the shipment after becoming suspicious that the real intention was to use them in missiles. An investigation is now under way which could lead to criminal action against those responsible for sending the parts. (Evening Standard)

08-02-2018
Military

Iran began a major naval exercise near the Strait of Hormuz, in an apparent response to rhetoric from President Donald Trump in recent days that he would ratchet up pressure against Tehran, U.S. defense officials said.

Iran began a major naval exercise near the Strait of Hormuz Thursday, in an apparent response to rhetoric from President Donald Trump in recent days that he would ratchet up pressure against Tehran, U.S. defense officials said. The U.S. believes the exercises “fully started” Thursday, one defense official said, and could continue until Aug. 6. A second official said there are more than 100 boats and ships participating in the exercise, but most are considered smaller craft. On Thursday, the U.S. saw boats going in and out of port, the first defense official said. An air component, consisting primarily of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, are also are participating in the exercise, a military official said. (Wall Street Journal)

08-01-2018
Syria Conflict

Yemen’s Houthi rebels are still arming themselves with ballistic missiles and drones that “show characteristics similar” to Iranian-made weapons, a report by a UN panel of experts has found.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels are still arming themselves with ballistic missiles and drones that “show characteristics similar” to Iranian-made weapons, a report by a UN panel of experts has found. In a confidential report to the UN Security Council, a copy of which was seen by AFP on Monday, the panel said it “continues to believe” that short-range ballistic missiles and other weaponry were transferred from Iran to Yemen after an arms embargo was imposed in 2015. Recent inspections of weaponry including missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) used by the Houthis “show characteristics similar to weapons systems known to be produced in the Islamic Republic of Iran”, said the 125-page report. (Agence France Presse)

07-31-2018
Anti-Americanism

The head of Iran's most powerful military body on Tuesday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's offer of direct talks with Iranian leaders, saying Tehran never would allow talks with what he called the "Great Satan."

The head of Iran's most powerful military body on Tuesday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's offer of direct talks with Iranian leaders, saying Tehran never would allow talks with what he called the "Great Satan." The commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohammad Ali Jafari, made the comment in an open letter published by Iran's state-controlled Fars News Agency. In the letter, Jafari said Iran never would allow talks with the Great Satan, his label for the U.S., because the nation's faith in Islam has made it "enormously different from submissive nations." Jafari also described Trump as an "amateurish president" whose wish for Iranian officials to request a meeting would go with him "to the grave." (Voice of America)

07-27-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps employed German companies to disguise illicit activities in its funding of the war against the pro-US government in Gulf country's capital of Sana'a.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps employed German companies to disguise illicit activities in its funding of the war against the pro-US government in Gulf country's capital of Sana'a. Time Magazine reported on Thursday: "For several years, Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had been using German front companies to buy advanced printing machinery, watermarked paper and specialty inks in violation of European export controls. " According to interviews with US Treasury Department officials, Time added: "The IRGC had then printed counterfeit Yemeni bank notes potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars and used them to help fund its proxy war against the beleaguered pro-US government in the capital of Sana’a. German companies were being used as a cover by the Iranians to finance the world’s worst humanitarian conflict." (Jerusalem Post)

07-26-2018
Anti-Americanism

Qassem Soleimani, a powerful commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, said that Donald Trump should address any threats against Tehran directly to him, and mocked the U.S. president as using the language of “night clubs and gambling halls”.

A powerful commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday that Donald Trump should address any threats against Tehran directly to him, and mocked the U.S. president as using the language of “night clubs and gambling halls”. The comments by Major-General Qassem Soleimani, who heads the Quds Force of the Guards, were the latest salvo in a war of words between the two countries. “As a soldier, it is my duty to respond to your threats ... If you wants to use the language of threat ... talk to me, not to the president (Hassan Rouhani). It is not in our president’s dignity to respond to you,” Soleimani was quoted as saying by Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency. (Reuters)

07-26-2018
Terrorism

China, Russia and Iran are ramping up their theft of trade secrets and proprietary information from U.S. companies, government labs and universities to hurdle America’s competitive edge.

China, Russia and Iran are ramping up their theft of trade secrets and proprietary information from U.S. companies, government labs and universities to hurdle America’s competitive edge. A new government cyber report, released Thursday by the National Counterintelligence Security Center, offers these recent examples of the economic espionage it says poses a significant threat to U.S. prosperity and security:

—An Iranian hacker group called Rocket Kitten has been targeting U.S. defense companies seeking sensitive U.S. military technology to help Tehran improve its missile and space programs.

—The Iranian OilRig hacking group, which historically has targeted Saudi Arabia, has stepped up its attacks on U.S. financial institutions and information technology companies.

—The Iranian hacking outfit called APT33 has targeted energy companies to help improve Iran’s petrochemical production and technology. (Associated Press)

07-25-2018
Syria Conflict

Saudi Arabia is temporarily halting all oil shipments going through an important Red Sea waterway, accusing Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen of attacking two crude tankers.

Saudi Arabia is temporarily halting all oil shipments going through an important Red Sea waterway, accusing Iran-allied rebels of attacking two crude tankers on Wednesday. Stopping crude shipments through the Bab el-Mandeb strait—which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden—marks another escalation in the war between an Arab military coalition and Houthi rebels for control of Yemen. Saudi Arabia is attempting to ramp up oil exports amid an effort to keep the world well-supplied with oil as the U.S. squeezes Riyadh’s rival, Iran, with new sanctions that could reduce its oil exports. Saudi Arabia said the Houthis attacked two very large crude carriers operated by Saudi National Shipping Corp. in the Red Sea on Wednesday. One of the ships sustained minimal damage. No injuries nor oil spill have been reported, according to an emailed statement from the kingdom. (Wall Street Journal)

07-25-2018
Terrorism

A U.S.-based cybersecurity firm has uncovered a new “highly active” espionage group believed to be based in Iran that is breaking into networks of government organizations and other firms located in the Middle East.

A U.S.-based cybersecurity firm has uncovered a new “highly active” espionage group believed to be based in Iran that is breaking into networks of government organizations and other firms located in the Middle East. Symantec released information early Wednesday on the hacking collective, which researchers have dubbed “Leafminer.” The group is allegedly targeting organizations in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Eqypt, Israel and Afghanistan. Leafminer’s targets reportedly cut across several sectors, including energy, telecommunications, financial services, transportation and government. (The Hill)

07-24-2018
Politics

Several top managers at Iran's Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade have been put behind bars as the nation increasingly discovers that rampant corruption is a major cause behind the current economic turmoil.

Several top managers at Iran's Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade have been put behind bars as the nation increasingly discovers that rampant corruption is a major cause behind the current economic turmoil. Judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei announced that at least five top managers at the ministry were arrested — four of whom are now in custody. The arrests were apparently made in connection to vehicle import fraud and the abuse of the official rate currency offered at the lower level of 42,000 rials per US dollar. Vehicle imports have long been seen as monopolized by well-connected, mafia-style corporations, which have benefited from the rial devaluation and enjoyed government privileges. Ejei went into further detail by publicly naming the director general of Iran's Trade Promotion Organization and one of his deputies as two of those arrested. "The prosecutors have been ordered to speed up the probe, show no leniency to the defendants and disregard their positions," he added. (Al-Monitor)

07-22-2018
Anti-Americanism

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cautioned U.S. President Donald Trump about pursuing hostile policies against Tehran, saying “war with Iran is the mother of all wars”, but did not rule out peace between the two countries.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday cautioned U.S. President Donald Trump about pursuing hostile policies against Tehran, saying “war with Iran is the mother of all wars”, but did not rule out peace between the two countries. Iran faces increased U.S. pressure and looming sanctions after Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from a 2015 international deal over Iran’s nuclear program. Addressing a gathering of Iranian diplomats, Rouhani said: “Mr Trump, don’t play with the lion’s tail, this would only lead to regret,” the state new agency IRNA reported. “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” Rouhani said, leaving open the possibility of peace between the two countries, at odds since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. (Reuters)

07-21-2018
Nuclear Program

A German intelligence report from Hamburg said Iran’s regime is continuing to seek weapons of mass destruction, delivering another intelligence agency blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s belief that the 2015 atomic deal with Iran curbed Tehran.

A German intelligence report from the city-state of Hamburg said Iran’s regime is continuing to seek weapons of mass destruction, delivering another intelligence agency blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s belief that the 2015 atomic deal with the Islamic Republic curbed Tehran’s nuclear weapons ambitions. The Jerusalem Post reviewed the 211- page document that states “some of the crisis countries... are still making an effort to obtain products for the manufacture of atomic, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction (proliferation) and the corresponding missile carrier technology (rocket technology).” The Hamburg report on Thursday added that “the current main focus points of countries in the area of relevant proliferation activities are: Iran, Syria, Pakistan and North Korea.” (Jerusalem Post)

07-19-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran says it is continuing to acquire uranium and is close to finishing a plant where it can build more centrifuges to enrich uranium.

Iran says it is continuing to acquire uranium and is close to finishing a plant where it can build more centrifuges to enrich uranium. The announcement on July 18 comes a day after Iran filed a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the United States in response to President Donald Trump's decision in May to pull his country out of the 2015 nuclear accord and reimpose sanctions on Tehran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other hard-liners in Iran have questioned whether Iran should continue honoring its obligations under the landmark deal with world powers after Trump's decision. (RFE/RL)

07-19-2018
Human Rights

Tehran’s prosecutor Jafari Dolatabad says verdicts have been issued against 258 Iranian dervishes of the Gonabadi order for participation in February protests, state-run news agency IRNA reported.

Tehran’s prosecutor Jafari Dolatabad says verdicts have been issued against 258 Iranian dervishes of the Gonabadi order, state-run news agency IRNA reported July 17. Ten dervishes of the same order had earlier been sentenced to “69 years in prison, 444 lashes, and fourteen years of exile,” according to a website close to the dervish religious order, Majzooban-i Noor (Enchanted by Light). Dolatabadi described the condemned dervishes, who are adherents to a minority Sufi Muslim faith, as the “elements of last February’s turmoil,” a reference to several days of protests by dervishes in February in Tehran that saw hundreds arrested and at least five dead. Enchanted By Light has also reported that 46 dervishes of the Gonabadi order had been sentenced to 171 years. (Radio Farda)

07-18-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran has built a factory that can produce rotors for up to 60 centrifuges a day, the head of its atomic agency said on Wednesday, upping the stakes in a confrontation with Washington over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear work.

Iran has built a factory that can produce rotors for up to 60 centrifuges a day, the head of its atomic agency said on Wednesday, upping the stakes in a confrontation with Washington over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear work. The announcement came a month after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he had ordered agencies to prepare to increase uranium enrichment capacity if a nuclear deal with world powers falls apart after Washington’s withdrawal from the pact. (Reuters)

07-16-2018
Human Rights

Iranian authorities have arrested dozens of people in fresh crackdowns on models and associated colleagues posting “immoral images” online.

Iranian authorities have arrested dozens of people in fresh crackdowns on models and associated colleagues posting “immoral images” online. The official IRNA news agency reported Monday that officials in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, some 1250 kilometers, or 630 miles, south of the capital Tehran, arrested eight women and 36 other people in the photography, beauty salons and wedding businesses who used Instagram to share what they considered indecent images and clips. Police said they were “damaging public virtue through the organized spreading of anti-cultural” activities. (Associated Press)

07-13-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran has no intention of leaving Syria regardless of U.S. and Israeli pressure, Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior envoy to Iran's leader said.

Iran has no intention of leaving Syria regardless of U.S. and Israeli pressure, a senior envoy to Iran's leader said Friday, reaffirming a tough stance on the issue expected to top the agenda of the upcoming U.S.-Russian summit. The statement from Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, came in the wake of his meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A day earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Putin that Israel wants Iran to leave Syria. (Associated Press)

07-12-2018
Human Rights

Amnesty International is denouncing Iran for the public flogging of a young man whose alleged crime was having consumed alcohol at a wedding ten years ago, when he was 14 or 15 years old.

Amnesty International is denouncing Iran for the public flogging of a young man whose alleged crime was having consumed alcohol at a wedding when he was 14 or 15 years old. Amnesty in a statement issued late on July 11 called the flogging "horrific" and "absolutely shocking," and said it violated international law as well as international conventions on civil and children's rights. The public flogging took place on July 10 in Niazmand Square in Kashmar in Iran's Razavi Khorasan Province, where the man, who was identified only as M. R., was flogged 80 times on his back for having consumed alcohol at a wedding 10 years ago when he was a teenager. (RFE/RL)

07-11-2018
Terrorism

An Iranian diplomat is suspected of involvement in a bomb plot against an Iranian opposition rally in France.

An Iranian diplomat is suspected of involvement in a bomb plot against an Iranian opposition rally in France. Assadollah Assadi was charged in Germany on Wednesday with activity as a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit murder. Assadi, a Vienna-based diplomat, is suspected of contracting a couple in Belgium to attack an annual meeting of an exiled Iranian opposition group in Villepinte, near Paris, German federal prosecutors said. He allegedly gave the Antwerp-based couple a device containing 500 grams of the explosive TATP during a meeting in Luxembourg in late June, prosecutors said in a written statement. Assadi was detained earlier this month near the German city of Aschaffenburg on a European warrant after the couple with Iranian roots was stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding powerful explosives in their car. (Associated Press)

07-10-2018
Human Rights

An Iranian woman who peacefully protested the obligatory hijab rule by removing her head scarf in public in Tehran in December says she has been sentenced to two years in prison in addition to an 18-year suspended prison term.

An Iranian woman who peacefully protested the obligatory hijab rule by removing her head scarf in public in Tehran in December says she has been sentenced to two years in prison in addition to an 18-year suspended prison term. Shaparak Shajarizadeh also says she has left Iran to escape "injustices." In a live broadcast shared widely on social media this week, Shajarizadeh said that she was sentenced to prison for opposing the compulsory hijab. "This means that I will have to be silent for 20 years and not get involved in any activities," Shajarizadeh said on Instagram. (RFE/RL)

07-10-2018
Terrorism

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of using its embassies to plot terrorist attacks in Europe and warned Tehran that its actions have "a real high cost" after it threatened to disrupt Mideast oil supplies.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused Iran of using its embassies to plot terrorist attacks in Europe and warned Tehran that its actions have "a real high cost" after it threatened to disrupt Mideast oil supplies. Pompeo's comments came during a short trip to the United Arab Emirates, a staunch U.S. ally, and as senior U.S. officials were wrapping up three days of talks in neighboring Saudi Arabia on countering threats from Iran and starving it of oil revenue. "Just this past week there were Iranians arrested in Europe who were preparing to conduct a terror plot in Paris, France. We have seen this malign behavior in Europe," Pompeo said in an interview with Sky News Arabia. (Associated Press)

07-09-2018
Human Rights

Iran has arrested a number of people over videos that were posted on Instagram, including a young woman who filmed herself dancing to music.

Iran has arrested a number of people over videos that were posted on Instagram, including a young woman who filmed herself dancing to music. According to activists, Maedeh Hojabri was one of a number of users behind popular Instagram accounts who have been arrested. The identities of the other detainees have not been confirmed. Her account, which has been suspended, was reported to have had more than 600,000 followers. Hojabri has since appeared on a state television programme with other detainees, in which she and others made what activists say were forced confessions, a tactic often used by Iranian authorities. (The Guardian)

07-09-2018
Human Rights

In a letter to the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, more than fifty Iranian dissidents have urged him to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) for its role in violation of human rights in the country.

In a letter to the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, more than fifty Iranian dissidents have urged him to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) for its role in violation of human rights in the country. Referring to IRIB’s newscast style, systematic abuse of human rights, propagating the Islamic Republic’s destabilizing policies in the region and disrupting free flow of information by jamming independent TV and radio shows, the dissidents have insisted that it is time to end Washington’s waiver of sanctions against the state-run organization. The role of IRIB in paving the way for the Iranian establishment to abuse human rights still needs a thorough review, the signatories have affirmed in their July 7 letter, adding, “IRIB has continued human rights violations through airing forced confession of people suspected for being opponents of the regime.” (Radio Farda)

07-08-2018
Human Rights

Up to fifty persons have been arrested in northwestern Iran, days ahead of the annual gathering at a historic fortress in Eastern Azarbaijan province, human rights activists report.

Up to fifty persons have been arrested in northwestern Iran, days ahead of the annual gathering at a historic fortress in Eastern Azarbaijan province, human rights activists report. In recent years, thousands of Iranians, mostly Azeri speaking activists, gather at Babak Fortress usually during the first weekend in July for the annual commemoration of Babak Khorramdin, celebrating his birthday. The Islamic Republic authorities every year try to prevent the gathering, which takes the overtones of both Azeri and Iranian patriotism. (Radio Farda)

07-05-2018
Syria Conflict

The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said their forces were ready to implement Iran's threat to block the Strait of Hormuz and that if Iran cannot sell its oil under the U.S. pressure, no other regional country will be allowed to.

The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday their forces were ready to implement Iran's threat to block the Strait of Hormuz and that if Iran cannot sell its oil under the U.S. pressure, no other regional country will be allowed to. "We are hopeful that this plan expressed by our president will be implemented if needed ... We will make the enemy understand that either all can use the Strait of Hormuz or no one," Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency. On Wednesday, a Revolutionary Guards commander said Iran would block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz was U.S. President Donald Trump to stop Iranian oil sales. (Reuters)

07-04-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran could reduce its co-operation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, President Hassan Rouhani told the body’s head, after he warned U.S. President Donald Trump of “consequences” of fresh sanctions against Iranian oil sales.

Iran could reduce its co-operation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, President Hassan Rouhani told the body’s head on Wednesday, after he warned U.S. President Donald Trump of “consequences” of fresh sanctions against Iranian oil sales. In May, Trump pulled out of a multinational deal under which sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs to its nuclear program, verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Washington has since told countries they must stop buying Iranian oil from Nov. 4 or face financial measures. “Iran’s nuclear activities have always been for peaceful purposes, but it is Iran that would decide on its level of cooperation with the IAEA,” Iranian state news agency IRNA quoted Rouhani as saying after meeting IAEA head Yukiya Amano in Vienna. (Reuters)

07-02-2018
Extremism

An Iranian general has accused Israel of causing climate change in the revolutionary Shiite Muslim republic by stealing the water out of clouds passing over the Mediterranean.

An Iranian general has accused Israel of causing climate change in the revolutionary Shiite Muslim republic by stealing the water out of clouds passing over the Mediterranean. Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, head of Iran's Civil Defense Organization, revealed the charges during an agricultural conference in the capital city of Tehran. He claimed Iranian scientific centers have proven that Israel and an unnamed neighboring country were secretly cooperating to extract the moisture out of clouds bound to pass over Iran, thus robbing the country of rain and snow. "Joint teams from Israel and one of the neighboring countries make the clouds entering into Iran barren. Moreover, we are faced with the cases of cloud theft and snow theft," Jalali said, according to a translation reported by Iran's semi-official Tasnim News Agency of comments featured by the Iranian Students' News Agency. (Newsweek)

06-29-2018
Nuclear Program

The Islamic Republic of Iran sought to obtain illicit goods for its missile program from Germany, the intelligence agency for Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, announced.

The Islamic Republic of Iran sought to obtain illicit goods for its missile program from Germany, the intelligence agency for Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, announced on Friday. In the report reviewed by The Jerusalem Post, the intelligence agency wrote: “Because of the demand for relevant goods for its rocket program, Iran continues to represent proliferation defense in our work.” The report cited Iran’s activities in its section titled “Education and Defense from Proliferation.” The report, which covers 2017, stated that in connection with illegal Iranian and Pakistani efforts to obtain missile technology “in the overwhelming majority of the number of cases, however, there occurred no delivery of the particular goods.” (Jerusalem Post)

06-29-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran say it will stop implementing the landmark 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA) if all member states, international organizations, and the remaining parties to the agreement cannot guarantee its benefits for Iran.

Iran say it will stop implementing the landmark 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA) if all member states, international organizations, and the remaining parties to the agreement cannot guarantee its benefits for Iran. “There shall be no doubt that if, after the exhaustion of available remedies, rights and benefits of the Iranian people are not fully guaranteed, it is Iran’s unquestionable right — recognized also under the JCPOA and Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) — to take appropriate actions and to treat the re-imposition of nuclear-related sanctions by the United States ‘as grounds to cease performing its commitments under the JCPOA in whole or in part',” a statement released by the Iran’s mission to the UN in New York said on Thursday, June 28. (Radio Farda)

06-27-2018
Human Rights

Iran’s supreme leader demanded punishment for those who disrupt business, signaling a tougher line after two days of strikes by market traders, the biggest unrest since the start of the year.

Iran’s supreme leader demanded punishment for those who disrupt business, signaling a tougher line after two days of strikes by market traders, the biggest unrest since the start of the year. With the economy facing the prospect of new U.S. sanctions, the country’s leadership signaled it was taking a united front toward the unrest. In a speech, President Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist who has long sought more open economic relations with the outside world, blamed Washington for Iran’s hardship, calling on Iranians to “bring America to its knees”. At Tehran’s Grand Bazaar on Wednesday, business was back to normal after the two-day strike had closed most shops. (Reuters)

06-27-2018
Human Rights

An international rights group said it had learned that Iran quietly executed a teenager for a crime he committed when he was 14 years old.

An international rights group said it had learned that Iran quietly executed a teenager for a crime he committed when he was 14 years old. Amnesty International's London-based Iran researcher Raha Bahreini told VOA Persian her group heard from local sources that Abolfazl Chezani Sharahi was executed Wednesday at dawn in Qom prison, south of Tehran. Sharahi had been sentenced to death in September 2014 for fatally stabbing a young man during a fight in December 2013, when Sharahi was 14. Bahreini said Iranian authorities transferred him to solitary confinement on Tuesday in preparation for his execution — the fifth such transfer since 2014. (Voice of America)

06-27-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran says it has restarted production at a “major” uranium facility involved in its nuclear program, though it still pledges to follow the terms of the country’s landmark atomic deal.

Iran says it has restarted production at a “major” uranium facility involved in its nuclear program, though it still pledges to follow the terms of the country’s landmark atomic deal now under threat after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled America out of the accord. Iranian comments about the Isfahan plant, which produces material needed to enrich uranium, appear aimed at pressuring Europeans and others to come up with a way to circumvent new U.S. sanctions. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said in a statement late Wednesday it reopened a plant that converts yellowcake, a uranium powder, into uranium hexafluoride gas. That gas is what scientists put inside of centrifuges to make enriched uranium that can be used in nuclear power plants or in atomic bombs. (Associated Press)

06-25-2018
Syria Conflict

The Iranian supreme leader’s top military adviser, Yahya Rahim Safavi, has threatened Saudi Arabia with “a barrage of missiles.”

The Iranian supreme leader’s top military adviser, Yahya Rahim Safavi, has threatened Saudi Arabia with “a barrage of missiles.” “If Saudis dare to attack Iran, the royal palaces in Riyadh will be immediately showered with 1,000 missiles,” said Safavi, former chief-commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), in response to a question concerning a possible Saudi attack against Iran. Speaking to a military audience in the city of Shiraz, Safavi said on June 24 that Iran is the number one power in the whole region and none of the regional problems could be tackled without Iran’s involvement. (Radio Farda)

06-23-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps announced Saturday that one of its senior commanders was killed on Friday while fighting Islamic State fighters in northeastern Syria.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps announced Saturday that one of its senior commanders was killed on Friday while fighting Islamic State fighters in northeastern Syria. The exact circumstances of Shahrokh Daiepour’s death were not disclosed, but the state-run Fars news agency said he had been involved in training fighters from the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy which has been fighting in Syria alongside forces loyal to President Bashar Assad. Daiepour had served as a commander in the Islamic Republic’s Navy during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. (Times of Israel)

06-21-2018
Anti-Americanism

A senior aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has claimed that the U.S. was behind the creation of ISIS and other extremist groups in Syria.

A senior aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has claimed that the U.S. was behind the creation of ISIS and other extremist groups in Syria. Speaking to reporters in Tehran, Ali Akbar Velayati also warned that America’s involvement in the country could prove bloody, the official state Fars news agency said. “The Americans themselves have created the ISIL [ISIS] and the al-Nusra in Syria and now they have come onto the scene and occupied Eastern Euphrates,” Velayati said. (Newsweek)

06-21-2018
Nuclear Program

The director of the AEOI has voiced doubts about the future of the 2015 nuclear agreement after the U.S. pullout from the deal, saying proposals put forward by the European countries to safeguard the nuclear pact are not satisfying for Iran.

The director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) has voiced doubts about the future of the 2015 nuclear agreement after the U.S. pullout from the deal, saying proposals put forward by the European countries to safeguard the nuclear pact are not satisfying for the Islamic Republic. Ali Akbar Salehi made the comments in a Wednesday meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Oslo, Tasnim reported. “If it continues like this, all sides will lose,” Salehi warned. Salehi denounced as “destructive” Washington’s policies toward the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name for the nuclear pact, saying such policies are “doomed to failure”. (Tehran Times)

06-21-2018
Human Rights

Iranian authorities have arrested a lawyer for spreading "lies" after claiming that a Sufi man executed this week was wrongfully convicted of killing three police officers, local media report.

Iranian authorities have arrested a lawyer for spreading "lies" after claiming that a Sufi man executed this week was wrongfully convicted of killing three police officers, local media report. The semiofficial Fars news agency said on June 20 that an arrest warrant was issued against Zeinab Taheri for making "false statements" and because of "her lies propagated online claiming [Mohammad Salas] was not guilty." The judiciary chief for Tehran Province, Gholamhossein Esmaili, was quoted as saying that Taheri was never a lawyer for Salas and did not have reliable information on the case. (RFE/RL)

06-20-2018
Terrorism

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has publicly opposed joining a global anti-money laundering convention.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has publicly opposed joining a global anti-money laundering convention. Referring to recent debates in country's parliament on joining the Financial Action Task Force, Khamenei told lawmakers Wednesday: "It is not necessary to join conventions whose depths we are unaware of." Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, said the parliament should instead prepare its own bills against money laundering and terrorism, accusing the convention of merely "securing the interests" of big powers. (Associated Press)

06-18-2018
Human Rights

Iranian authorities executed a member of a Sufi order who was accused of ramming a bus into three policemen and killing them during a protest in February in Tehran, drawing criticism from observers who said he received unfair treatment.

Iranian authorities executed a member of a Sufi order Monday who was accused of ramming a bus into three policemen and killing them during a protest in February in Tehran, drawing criticism from observers who said he received unfair treatment. Mohammad Salas, 51, was hanged Monday morning in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, according the official website of Iran’s judiciary. He was later buried in his hometown of Borujerd, Lorestan province, according to a Tweet by his lawyer, Zeynab Taheri. The State Department called for Iran to release about 300 Sufis who were detained during February’s clashes and said Salas’ execution was “brutal and unjust.” (Los Angeles Times)

06-15-2018
Syria Conflict

The United Nations has determined that debris from five ballistic missiles launched from Yemen into Saudi Arabia since July contained components manufactured in Iran and shared key design features with an Iranian missile, a new report says.

The United Nations has determined that debris from five ballistic missiles launched from Yemen into Saudi Arabia since July contained components manufactured in Iran and shared key design features with an Iranian missile, a new report says. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in the report to the UN Security Council, which was seen by media on June 14, that -- while the missile parts are Iranian -- the United Nations has been unable to determine whether they were transferred from Iran after UN restrictions went into force in January 2016. Guterres said the UN was also "confident" that some arms seized by Bahrain and recovered by the United Arab Emirates from an unmanned vessel laden with explosives were manufactured in Iran. (RFE/RL)

06-15-2018
Human Rights

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has blamed foreign media for the recent economic turbulence in his country and lamented the fact that Iranians trust foreign outlets more than domestic ones.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has blamed foreign media for the recent economic turbulence in his country and lamented the fact that Iranians trust foreign outlets more than domestic ones. “Today, our main problem is not the economy, culture, or security, but a psychological war,” Rouhani said June 13 while addressing a group of Iranian journalists and media officials, adding, “the biggest grief of a nation is when foreign media are their [main] source of information.” Iranians are avid consumers of radio and TV news, as well as on-line content offered by international Persian language broadcasters such as RFE/RL’s Radio Farda, Voice of America, and the BBC. Iran’s constitution does not allow private individuals to launch radio and TV programs, and all existing channels are under the umbrella of a state-run organization controlled by conservatives and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Radio Farda)

06-14-2018
Syria Conflict

Iranian President Hassan defended Iran’s growing military presence in Syria, claiming that the Islamic Republic was engaged in “fighting terrorism.”

Iranian President Hassan defended Iran’s growing military presence in Syria, claiming that the Islamic Republic was engaged in “fighting terrorism.” During a telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, both parties discussed bilateral relations, regional affairs and issues related to the nuclear deal. On the Syrian issue, Rouhani told Macron that “unlike the illegitimate presence of certain states in that country, the presence of Iranian advisers in Syrian is quite legal and based on the official request of the Syrian government with an aim of fighting terrorism.” (Asharq Al-awsat)

06-13-2018
Human Rights

Iranian authorities jailed a prominent human rights lawyer who has defended women who removed their mandatory Islamic head scarves in public.

Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested at her home by unidentified agents and taken to Evin Prison in Tehran, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran, an advocacy group. Her husband, Reza Khandan, said the agents told him she must serve a five-year sentence but did not say on what charges she was being detained, the group said. Khandan confirmed her arrest to The Times. Separately, state media reported that Farhad Jafari, a well known writer in the city of Mashhad, was arrested 12 days ago for supporting “the girls of Enghelab Avenue,” near the Tehran square where, in December, a woman removed her headscarf in protest of modesty laws that require Iranian women to cover their hair. (Los Angeles Times)

06-10-2018
Terrorism

Israel has complained to the UN Security Council, saying that Hamas is working with Hezbollah to establish missile factories and training camps in southern Lebanon, the Lebanese newspaper Al Joumhouria reported.

Israel has complained to the UN Security Council, saying that Hamas is working with Hezbollah to establish missile factories and training camps in southern Lebanon, the Lebanese newspaper Al Joumhouria reported Saturday. According to the report, Israel sent a letter to the UN Security Council and General Assembly that included intelligence showing the effort of the two terrorist groups to set up missile factories and training facilities for thousands of Palestinian fighters. Israel requested that the UN intervene to stop cooperation between the two groups, charging it was a “blatant violation” of UN Security Resolution 1701, which set the terms to end the 34-day Second Lebanon War fought between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. (Jerusalem Post)

06-08-2018
Extremism

Iran held its annual day of protest against Israel on Friday, determined to show defiance at a time of mounting pressure from the United States and its regional allies.

Iran held its annual day of protest against Israel on Friday, determined to show defiance at a time of mounting pressure from the United States and its regional allies. "The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel want to put Iran in a corner, but they don't know that with this action they are threatening their own security," said parliament speaker Ali Larijani, addressing a crowd in Tehran. Thousands took to the streets in the capital and other cities for Qods (Jerusalem) Day, held every year since the early days of Iran's Islamic revolution to show support for the Palestinians. This year's event saw the usual burning of flags and chants of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel", as well as a huge Donald Trump figure being hanged from a crane. (AFP)

06-08-2018
Nuclear Program

Three centrifuges labeled in English in the background of a live television interview showed advanced devices Tehran is prohibited from using by the nuclear deal with world powers.

The star of a live television interview in Iran’s new nuclear workshop wasn’t the head of the country’s atomic agency, but three centrifuges labeled in English in the background, advanced devices Tehran is prohibited from using by the nuclear deal with world powers. The placement of the centrifuges, identified as IR-2M, IR-4 and IR-6, may have served as a subtle warning to Europe as it tries to salvage the atomic accord after President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from it and restore U.S. sanctions. In recent days Iranian officials from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on down have vowed to boost the country’s uranium enrichment capacity. The moves they have outlined would not violate the 2015 nuclear accord, but would allow Iran to quickly ramp up enrichment if the agreement unravels. (The Associated Press)

06-08-2018
Nuclear Program

Mohammad Javad Zarif, is asking world powers that remain committed to its 2015 nuclear deal to resist what he called U.S. "bullying tactics" and ensure that Iran is compensated for economic losses that result from U.S. withdrawal from the agreement.

Iran's top diplomat is asking world powers that remain committed to its 2015 nuclear deal to resist what he called U.S. "bullying tactics" and ensure that Iran is compensated for economic losses that result from U.S. withdrawal from the agreement. In a letter made public on Twitter by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on June 7, Zarif said that for the deal to "survive," the "remaining signatories and other economic partners" need to "make up for Iran's losses" caused by the U.S. exit and planned reimposition of U.S. sanctions previously lifted under the deal. Zarif said that "some of the most significant economic benefits to Iran from the [nuclear deal] derive from the sanctions-lifting obligation of the United States" and Iran is now seeking to determine "whether and how the remaining participants and economic partners can ensure the full benefits that the Iranian people are entitled to derive." (RFE/RL)

06-08-2018
Syria Conflict

The Syrian regime is disguising Iran-allied militias as its own fighters, according to rebels, a battlefield feint that appears calculated to try to avoid further Israeli air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria.

The Syrian regime is disguising Iran-allied militias as its own fighters, according to rebels, a battlefield feint that appears calculated to try to avoid further Israeli air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria. Israel, which has said it won’t allow forces loyal to Iran to entrench near its border, has watched closely as the regime and its allies appear to be preparing a military assault on rebels in southwestern Syria. After initially appearing to withdraw, military convoys of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and other Iran-backed militias have returned to both Daraa and Quneitra provinces in Syria’s southwest near Israel, dressed in Syrian military uniforms and under Syrian flags, according to multiple rebel commanders. The convoys that returned were equipped with rockets and missiles, one of the rebel commanders said. (Wall Street Journal)

06-07-2018
Syria Conflict

A Saudi court has sentenced four people to death for links to regional rival Iran, alleging that they were plotting the assassination of "prominent figures", state media said.

A Saudi court has sentenced four people to death for links to regional rival Iran, alleging that they were plotting the assassination of "prominent figures", state media said Thursday. "The criminal court has sentenced four terrorists to death for forming a cell for Iran," the state-owned Al-Ekhbariya TV reported. "The terrorists were trained in camps in Iran" and "planned to assassinate prominent figures," Al-Ekhbariya said, without giving any more details on those convicted. (Radio Farda)

06-06-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran will not heed a call to cooperate more fully with U.N. nuclear inspectors until a standoff over the future of its agreement with major powers is resolved, its envoy to the agency said.

Iran will not heed a call to cooperate more fully with U.N. nuclear inspectors until a standoff over the future of its agreement with major powers is resolved, its envoy to the agency said on Wednesday. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is policing the restrictions placed on Iran’s activities under the deal, has said Tehran is implementing its commitments, but also called for “timely and proactive cooperation” on providing access for snap inspections. IAEA chief Yukiya Amano has said the comment is “not an expression of concern or complaints but rather an encouragement to Iran”. Diplomats who deal with the agency, however, say it follows an inspection in late April that went down to the wire in terms of how quickly the IAEA team gained access to one site. (Reuters)

06-05-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran has informed the U.N. nuclear watchdog that it will increase its nuclear enrichment capacity within the limits set by the 2015 agreement with world powers.

Iran has informed the U.N. nuclear watchdog that it will increase its nuclear enrichment capacity within the limits set by the 2015 agreement with world powers. The modest steps announced Tuesday appeared to be mainly aimed at signaling that Iran could resume its drive toward industrial-scale enrichment if the nuclear accord comes unraveled. Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for Iran’s nuclear agency, was quoted by state TV as saying a letter was submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency detailing the move. Kamalvandi said Iran is “providing infrastructure and arrangements for high-speed and capacity in production of UF4 and UF6 gases as well as rotor of centrifuges.” (The Associated Press)

06-04-2018
Extremism

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lashed out at Israel, calling the Jewish state the “cancerous tumor” of the region that must be “removed and eradicated.”

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday lashed out at Israel, calling the Jewish state the “cancerous tumor” of the region that must be “removed and eradicated.” In a series of tweets Sunday, Khamenei leveled harsh criticism at Israel for its handling of the violent Hamas-orchestrated “March of Return” protests along the Gaza border. “Our stance against Israel is the same stance we have always taken,” he said. “#Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated: it is possible and it will happen.” (Times of Israel)

06-02-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran’s regime has not stopped its drive to secure technology and scientific knowledge to produce weapon of mass destruction, the intelligence agency of the German state of Baden-Württemberg disclosed in a report last week.

Iran’s regime has not stopped its drive to secure technology and scientific knowledge to produce weapon of mass destruction, the intelligence agency of the German state of Baden-Württemberg disclosed in a report last week. “Iran continued to undertake, as did Pakistan and Syria, efforts to obtain goods and know-how to be used for the development of weapons of mass destruction and to optimize corresponding missile delivery systems,” said the intelligence document, reviewed by FoxNews.com. (Fox News)

06-01-2018
Human Rights

Iran's judicial and security authorities have stepped up crackdown on the very experts and activists who are leading efforts to address the country’s growing water scarcity and environmental problems.

While Iran’s environmental challenges have reached crisis level, the country’s judicial and security authorities have stepped up crackdown on the very experts and activists who are leading efforts to address the country’s growing water scarcity and environmental problems, adversely affecting tens of millions of Iranians on a daily basis. In recent months, intelligence operatives of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have arrested scores of water management and environmental experts and activists on spurious charges. The IRGC, in collusion with the country’s repressive Judiciary, accuses those arrested of working for foreign intelligence agencies; but in reality, the IRGC targets these individuals because it considers them a threat to its environmentally-destructive construction projects. (Middle East Institute)

05-29-2018
Terrorism

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has amassed a net personal worth of around $250 million due to his organization's illegal drug smuggling operations, Al-Ittihad, an Arabic language newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates, reported.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has amassed a net personal worth of around $250 million due to his organization's illegal drug smuggling operations, Al-Ittihad, an Arabic language newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates, reported on Monday. According to the report, which relies on senior Lebanese government sources, the scope of Nasrallah's fortune was discovered within the framework of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigation against Hezbollah – which aside from its designation as a terrorist organization also operates as one of the largest drug cartels in the world. Due to economic sanctions the U.S. has reimposed on Iran and the massive reduction of Tehran's budget to Hezbollah, Al-Ittihad reported, compounded by the heavy financial toll exacted by involvement in the Syrian civil war, Nasrallah ordered an expansion of the organization's drug-related activities – which resulted in extensive financial gains for Hezbollah and a personal windfall for Nasrallah himself. (Israel Hayom)

05-29-2018
Terrorism

Some of the dozens of mortars and rockets fired into Israel by Gaza-based terrorists on Tuesday, May 29 were made in Iran and smuggled into the Strip, the Israeli army said.

Some of the dozens of mortars and rockets fired into Israel by Gaza-based terrorists on Tuesday were made in Iran and smuggled into the Strip, the army said. In a statement, the army said that during the day more than 70 mortars and rockets were fired, with many intercepted. “Among the munitions fired at Israel were also rockets manufactured in Iran,” it said. It gave no details on the types of rockets. IDF spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said in separate comments that some of the mortar shells appeared to be an Iranian-made variety that had been smuggled into the coastal enclave. (Times of Israel)

05-27-2018
Human Rights

Iranian security forces will "resolutely confront" unrest that could be exploited by the United States and other enemies, a judiciary spokesman said, after a wave of protests across the country mainly about economic issues.

Iranian security forces will "resolutely confront" unrest that could be exploited by the United States and other enemies, a judiciary spokesman said on Sunday, after a wave of protests across the country mainly about economic issues. The likely return of U.S. economic sanctions after Washington withdrew from an Iranian nuclear deal with world powers has triggered labour unrest and protests in Iran in the past few weeks by various groups, including teachers and truckers. (Reuters)

05-27-2018
Syria Conflict

The secretary of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Security Council has reiterated that Iran’s military presence in Syria, its regional policies and missile program will continue and are non-negotiable.

The secretary of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Security Council has reiterated that Iran’s military presence in Syria, its regional policies and missile program will continue and are non-negotiable. On May 17, Russian president Vladimir Putin had said that after the stabilization of the situation in Syria he hopes all foreign troops will be withdrawn from Syria. Speaking to Al Jezeera TV network, Ali Shamkhani, an Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ Rear Admiral, without mentioning the Putin's statement, insisted, “The Islamic Republic will never leave Syria because its presence is at the request of the Syrian government.” (Radio Farda)

05-25-2018
Syria Conflict

Yemeni Houthi rebels have fired several missiles into Saudi Arabia over the past two days, Iranian and Arab media reported.

Yemeni Houthi rebels have fired several missiles into Saudi Arabia over the past two days, Iranian and Arab media reported. According to Tasnim News Agency, an outlet affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the Houthis fired a missile dubbed “Badr-1” at the Saudi border city of Najran on Friday. Quoting Houthi rebel sources, Tasnim said the target was a gathering of Saudi military forces in the border region. The Saudi Royal Air Defense Force said it successfully intercepted the missiles coming from Houthi-held region in Yemen toward Najran. The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen criticized Houthis for deliberately targeting civilian and populated areas, but said there were no casualties. (Middle East Institute)

05-24-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran’s supreme leader has threatened to pull his country out of the nuclear deal and resume enriching uranium if European countries do not promise to buy Iranian oil and to oppose all new US sanctions against Tehran.

Iran’s supreme leader has threatened to pull his country out of the nuclear deal and resume enriching uranium if European countries do not promise to buy Iranian oil and to oppose all new US sanctions against Tehran. Three days after US secretary of state Mike Pompeo delivered America’s extensive list of demands of Iran for a new nuclear agreement, Ayatollah Khamenei laid out his own demands of European countries for Iran to stay in the 2015 deal. “If the Europeans hesitate in responding to our demands, Iran is entitled to resuming its nuclear activities,” he said in a statement. (Telegraph)

05-23-2018
Military

Weapons researchers have identified activity at a remote secret facility in the Iranian desert that points to the covert development of long-range missiles that could potentially be used to attack the United States, The New York Times reported.

Weapons researchers have identified activity at a remote secret facility in the Iranian desert that points to the covert development of long-range missiles that could potentially be used to attack the United States, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Satellite images appear to show, among other things, activity around a tunnel leading underground and evidence of powerful rocket engine tests that scorched telltale marks in the desert sand near the city of Shahrud, the report said. (Times of Israel)

05-22-2018
Anti-Americanism

A senior Iranian military commander poured scorn on U.S. threats to tighten sanctions, saying the Islamic Republic’s people would respond by punching U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the mouth.

A senior Iranian military commander poured scorn on U.S. threats to tighten sanctions on Tuesday, saying the Islamic Republic’s people would respond by punching U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the mouth. Pompeo said on Monday Washington would impose new penalties if Tehran did not make sweeping changes, including dropping its nuclear program and pulling out of the Syrian civil war. “The people of Iran should stand united in the face of this and they will deliver a strong punch to the mouth of the American Secretary of State and anyone who backs them,” Ismail Kowsari, the deputy commander of the Sarollah Revolutionary Guards base in Tehran said, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency. (Reuters)

05-17-2018
Extremism

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that "Palestine will be liberated from the enemies and Jerusalem will be its capital."

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday that "Palestine will be liberated from the enemies and Jerusalem will be its capital." Speaking ahead of the Islamic summit in Istanbul and in honor of the start of Ramadan, he added that "The Palestinians are suffering under [the rule of] a fake entity, and Muslims are content to stand by and watch.  "The United States is a partner to the Israeli entity in its crimes against the Palestinians." (Jerusalem Post)

05-17-2018
Politics

A violent protest in the city of Kazeroon in southwestern Iran has left at least one person dead and six others injured, Iranian media report.

A violent protest in the city of Kazeroon in southwestern Iran has left at least one person dead and six others injured, Iranian media report. Esmail Tabadar, the governor of the province of Fars, where Kazeroon is located, confirmed the death of one protester in a May 17 interview with the semiofficial ISNA news agency. In a statement published by the semiofficial Tasnim news agency on May 17, the Interior Ministry urged “the wise people of Kazeroon to be alert against plots of the opposition groups and enemies of Iran." (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

05-14-2018
Extremism

A hardline Iranian organization is reportedly offering a $100,000 reward to any person who bombs the newly opened U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, according to a translation of Farsi language reports.

A hardline Iranian organization is reportedly offering a $100,000 reward to any person who bombs the newly opened U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, according to a translation of Farsi language reports. A group known as the Iranian Justice Seeker Student Movement is reported to have disseminated posters calling for an attack on the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, which has been opposed by Palestinian and Iranian officials as an affront to the holy city.

"The Student Justice Movement will support anybody who destroy the illegal American embassy in Jerusalem," the poster states in Farsi, Arabic, and English, according to an independent translation of the propaganda poster provided to the Free Beacon. There will be a "$100,000 dollar prize for the person who destroys the illegal American embassy in Jerusalem," the poster states. (Washington Free Beacon)

05-13-2018
Politics

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani must apologize to the people of Iran for signing the Iran nuclear deal, the country's conservative Assembly of Experts said in a statement.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani must apologize to the people of Iran for signing the Iran nuclear deal, the country's conservative Assembly of Experts said in a statement released Sunday. In light of the "damage" caused by President Donald Trump's decision that the United States would withdraw from the agreement, the statement "honestly and frankly" called on Rouhani to apologize for "not adhering to the red lines" set by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The Assembly of Experts is an elected body of theologians charged by Iran's constitution with selecting and overseeing the Supreme Leader, the religious scholar who wields ultimate power in the Islamic Republic. In practice, however, the body has become a rubber stamp for arch-conservative Khamenei. (Jerusalem Post)

05-11-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran says it is ready to restart nuclear enrichment on an "industrial scale" in the wake of the US decision to abandon the deal that curbs the country's nuclear ambitions.

Iran says it is ready to restart nuclear enrichment on an "industrial scale" in the wake of the US decision to abandon the deal that curbs the country's nuclear ambitions. In a statement published Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said he would embark on a round of international diplomacy to try and save the deal. At the same time, the country would make preparations to restart its nuclear program, he said. (CNN)

05-10-2018
Human Rights

Organizers of a teachers' protest in the Iranian capital, Tehran, say security forces have violently broken up their rally, beating up some of the demonstrators and arresting at least six of them.

Organizers of a teachers' protest in the Iranian capital, Tehran, say security forces have violently broken up their rally, beating up some of the demonstrators and arresting at least six of them. Dozens of retired and practicing teachers attended Thursday's protest outside the Iranian government's planning and budget organization building in Tehran. It was one of several rallies around the country organized by the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teacher Trade Associations to protest what it says are poor salaries for teachers and insufficient funding of the public education system as a whole. The teachers association of Tehran reported that Iranian security forces used force to break up the rally, beating several protesters including women. A member of the association, Sedighe Pakzamir, tweeted the names of six education activists who she said were arrested. Iran's Human Rights Activist News Agency quoted the Tehran association as saying the number of those detained was at least 15. (Voice of America)

05-09-2018
Syria Conflict

Yemen’s Iran-allied Shiite rebels fired ballistic missiles at the Saudi capital, according to the rebels and the Saudi military, which said its air defense forces intercepted missiles in the skies over Riyadh and the southern city of Jizan.

Yemen’s Shiite rebels fired ballistic missiles at the Saudi capital on Wednesday, according to the rebels and the Saudi military, which said its air defense forces intercepted missiles in the skies over Riyadh and the southern city of Jizan. The cross-border attack by the Iran-allied rebels, known as Houthis, came amid mounting regional tensions after U.S. President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran. Saudi coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said a ballistic missile was shot down by the Kingdom’s air defense forces in the skies over the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Earlier, the military said it had intercepted two missiles fired across the border at southern Jizan province, hundreds of miles (kilometers) from Riyadh. (Associated Press)

05-09-2018
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s supreme leader chastised President Donald Trump over his decision to pull America out of the 2015 nuclear deal, while lawmakers lit a paper U.S. flag on fire inside parliament, shouting, “Death to America!”

Iran’s supreme leader chastised President Donald Trump on Wednesday over his decision to pull America out of the 2015 nuclear deal, while lawmakers lit a paper U.S. flag on fire inside parliament, shouting, “Death to America!” The government backlash reflected broad public anger in Iran over Trump’s decision, which threatens to destroy the landmark agreement. While Iranian officials, including the parliament speaker, say they hope Europe will work with them to preserve the deal, many are pessimistic. In comments before school teachers, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Trump: “You cannot do a damn thing!” The exhortation from Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, follows a pattern of Iranian leaders declaring their nation’s ability to resist foreign pressure or interference. (Associated Press)

05-09-2018
Syria Conflict

Confrontation between Israel and Iranian forces in Syria sharply escalated as Israel said Iran launched a barrage of 20 missiles toward its positions in the Golan Heights.

Confrontation between Israel and Iranian forces in Syria sharply escalated early Thursday morning as Israel said Iran launched a barrage of 20 missiles toward its positions in the Golan Heights. Heavy military jet activity, explosions and air-defense fire could be heard throughout the night in the area. An Israeli military spokesman said the rockets were fired by Iran’s Quds Force, a special forces unit affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, marking the first time Iranian forces have ever fired directly on Israeli troops. The Israeli military said several of the rockets had been intercepted by Israel’s missile defense system, and sparks could be seen as they broke up in the sky. (Washington Post)

05-09-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran’s supreme leader hinted that his country might step up its nuclear program, signaling a possible escalation in an already volatile relationship with Washington.

Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday hinted that his country might step up its nuclear program, signaling a possible escalation in an already volatile relationship with Washington after President Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal. “Last night, you heard the president of America making petty and mindless statements,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, told a group of teachers in his Tehran office, according to the semiofficial news agency Fars. “There were perhaps more than 10 lies in his statements.” “He threatened both the system and the nation that ‘I will do this and that,’” the ayatollah said. “I say on behalf of the nation of Iran: ‘Mr. Trump, you won’t do a damn thing!’” (New York Times)

05-03-2018
Nuclear Program

An Israeli satellite imaging company released images showing what it described as “unusual” movement around the Iranian Fordo nuclear facility.

An Israeli satellite imaging company on Thursday released images showing what it described as “unusual” movement around the Iranian Fordo nuclear facility, a one-time uranium enrichment plant buried deep underground that was converted to a research center as part of the 2015 nuclear deal. The photographs, which show large numbers of vehicles at the entrance to the facility and other signs of increased activity there, do not in themselves indicate any violation of the nuclear accord, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. The underground site, which has been protected by the powerful S-300 air defense system since 2016, was not shuttered as part of the accord, but the types of activities allowed there were heavily curtailed. Barring a massive, heretofore undetected effort by Iran to bring Fordo back online in violation of the JCPOA, the increased activity could likely be attributed to an attempt by the Islamic Republic to imply that it is prepared to begin enriching uranium at the site if the US pulls out of the agreement. (Times of Israel)

05-02-2018
Nuclear Program

A top Iranian diplomat warned that if the United States withdraws from the Iran nuclear deal in the coming days, Tehran could resume its uranium enrichment activities.

A top Iranian diplomat warned on Wednesday that if the United States withdraws from the Iran nuclear deal in the coming days, Tehran could resume its uranium enrichment activities. “Iran would be ready to go back to the previous situation,” Hamid Baeidinejad, Iran’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, told CNN in an interview. “It could be enriching uranium. It could be redefining our cooperation with the [International Atomic Energy Agency], and some other activities that are under consideration.” Baeidinejad also said President Donald Trump is not being “constructive.” (The Daily Beast)

04-30-2018
Nuclear Program

Revealing a huge archive of stolen Iranian nuclear plans, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accused Iran of lying for years about its efforts to build a nuclear weapon.

Revealing a huge archive of stolen Iranian nuclear plans, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accused Iran on Monday of lying for years about its efforts to build a nuclear weapon. Days before President Trump was to decide whether to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Mr. Netanyahu presented records from a secret warehouse in Tehran, making the case that Iranian leaders had deceived the international nuclear agency when they insisted their nuclear program was for peaceful purposes. Israeli spies seized the documents in an overnight raid in January, a senior Israeli official said. (New York Times)

04-30-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran has the technical capability to enrich uranium to a higher level than it could before a multinational nuclear deal was reached to curb its nuclear program, state TV quoted the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, Ali Akbar Salehi, as saying.

Iran has the technical capability to enrich uranium to a higher level than it could before a multinational nuclear deal was reached to curb its nuclear program, state TV quoted the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, Ali Akbar Salehi, as saying. U.S. President Donald) Trump has given European signatories to the 2015 deal a May 12 deadline to “fix the terrible flaws” in the agreement, or he will refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief on Iran. Salehi warned Trump against taking that course. “Iran is not bluffing. ... Technically, we are fully prepared to enrich uranium higher than we used to produce before the deal was reached. ... I hope Trump comes to his senses and stays in the deal.” (Reuters)

04-30-2018
Human Rights

Iran moved to shut down the messaging app Telegram, highlighting the regime’s concern over the popular platform’s role in organizing widespread unrest that has rippled through the country in recent months.

Iran moved to shut down the messaging app Telegram on Monday, highlighting the regime’s concern over the popular platform’s role in organizing widespread unrest that has rippled through the country in recent months. Using the app was prohibited as of Monday under a ruling by a Tehran-based court, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. The order said Telegram gave Islamic State “safe ground” in an attack in Tehran last year and also blamed its role in protests in December and January, the biggest in Iran in almost a decade. It ordered telecommunications providers to block the service. (Wall Street Journal)

04-26-2018
Anti-Americanism

Iran's supreme leader called on Muslim nations to unite against the United States, saying Tehran would never yield to "bullying," state television reported.

Iran's supreme leader called on Muslim nations to unite against the United States, saying Tehran would never yield to "bullying," state television reported on Thursday. "The Iranian nation has successfully resisted bullying attempts by America and other arrogant powers and we will continue to resist... All Muslim nations should stand united against America and other enemies," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. (Reuters)

 

 

04-25-2018
Extremism

Iran is promoting a domestically-produced mobile messaging app, complete with a "Death to America" emoji, in an attempt to get millions of Iranians to abandon the popular Telegram service, which it blames for promoting unrest in the country.

Iran is promoting a domestically-produced mobile messaging app, complete with a "Death to America" emoji, in an attempt to get millions of Iranians to abandon the popular Telegram service, which it blames for promoting unrest in the country. Among the features on new app Soroush are a series of emojis featuring a chador-clad woman clutching a picture of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and placards wishing death to Israel, America and Freemasons. (CNN)

04-25-2018
Syria Conflict

US intelligence is monitoring a series of cargo flights from Iran into Syria that the US suspects may be carrying weapons systems into Syria for potential use by Bashar al-Assad's regime or Iranian forces.

US intelligence is monitoring a series of cargo flights from Iran into Syria that the US suspects may be carrying weapons systems into Syria for potential use by Bashar al-Assad's regime or Iranian forces, CNN has learned. An administration official confirms to CNN that the flights took place and the US and Israel are both concerned the cargo could potentially include weapons that could eventually be used to threaten Israel. While weapons shipments into Syria are not uncommon, these flights involving Iran have caught the attention of US intelligence because they occurred in the days after the April 13 US airstrikes on Assad regime targets. (CNN)

04-25-2018
Human Rights

Iran has arrested a British-Iranian dual citizen who traveled to Tehran from London on an invitation to speak at an academic workshop, according to friends of his family and human-rights organizations.

Iran has arrested a British-Iranian dual citizen who traveled to Tehran from London on an invitation to speak at an academic workshop, according to friends of his family and human-rights organizations. Abbas Edalat, a professor of computer science and mathematics at Imperial College and a British-Iranian dual citizen, was arrested in Tehran, friends of the family said. The arrest of Abbas Edalat, a professor of computer science and mathematics at Imperial College in London, comes at a time of particularly tense relations between Iran and the West over the fate of the nuclear deal. (Wall Street Journal)

04-25-2018
Anti-Americanism

A top Iranian general has threatened to sink the US Navy’s ships, warning that the US would find itself in a “catastrophic situation” amid an ongoing war of words between the countries over the possibility President Trump could exit the nuclear deal.

A top Iranian general has threatened to sink the United States Navy’s ships, warning that the US would find itself in a “catastrophic situation” amid an ongoing war of words between the countries over the possibility President Donald Trump could exit a landmark nuclear deal. “The actual information that the Americans have about us is much less than what they think they have. When will they figure this out? When it is too late,” the Revolutionary Guard Corps’s navy commander, Admiral Ali Fadavim, told Iranian television on Saturday. “They will definitely figure it out when their ships are sunk, or when they find themselves in a catastrophic situation,” Fadavi threatened in an interview with IRINN TV, according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute. (Times of Israel)

04-24-2018
Nuclear Program

A senior Iranian official said that Tehran might quit a treaty designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons if U.S. President Donald Trump scraps the nuclear accord Iran signed with world powers in 2015.

A senior Iranian official said on Tuesday that Tehran might quit a treaty designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons if U.S. President Donald Trump scraps the nuclear accord Iran signed with world powers in 2015. In a news conference broadcast on state television, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, said the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran was ready for some “surprising actions” if the nuclear deal was scrapped. Answering a question about the possibility of Tehran withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Shamkhani said: “This is one of three options that we are considering.” (Reuters)

04-20-2018
Extremism

The deputy head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards threatened Israel with destruction, saying, “the finger is on the trigger and the missiles are ready at any given moment that the enemy conducts something against us, and we will launch them.”

The deputy head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards threatened Israel with destruction on Friday, saying, “the finger is on the trigger and the missiles are ready at any given moment that the enemy conducts something against us, and we will launch them.” Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami was speaking before Friday prayers in Tehran. (Ha’aretz)

04-19-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran warned the United States of “unpleasant” consequences if Washington pulls out of a multinational nuclear deal, Iranian state TV reported.

Iran warned the United States on Thursday of “unpleasant” consequences if Washington pulls out of a multinational nuclear deal, Iranian state TV reported. “Iran has several options if the United States leaves the nuclear deal. Tehran’s reaction to America’s withdrawal of the deal will be unpleasant,” TV quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying on his arrival in New York. (Reuters)

04-18-2018
Military

An unidentified air-launched cruise missile, rarely seen, was on display at Iran’s Army Day parade.

An unidentified air-launched cruise missile, rarely seen, was on display at Iran’s Army Day parade on Wednesday. Marked with initials of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, the missile features trapezoidal grid fins ― most commonly associated with U.S. missiles ― and a seeker in the tip. According to Ian Williams, associate director of the CSIS Missile Defense Project, this suggests the mysterious missile is equipped with some kind of homing guidance. A sign written in Farsi that accompanied the missile said the munition is “electro-optically guided up to 100 km.” During the parade, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country would “produce or acquire any weapons we need,” without waiting for approval from the international community. (Defense News)

04-16-2018
Anti-Americanism

Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary forces have laid siege to an American air base northwest of Baghdad to pressure the US military not to use Iraqi airspace for any attacks against the Assad regime in Syria, Iranian and Lebanese media outlets reported.

Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary forces have laid siege to an American air base northwest of Baghdad to pressure the US military not to use Iraqi airspace for any attacks against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, Iranian and Lebanese media outlets reported. Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, a mouthpiece of the Revolutionary Guards, quoted the Arabic-language al-Diyar newspaper as saying that the militia forces encircling the American base were equipped with heavy weapons, including ground-to-ground and anti-aircraft missiles and tanks. According to the newspaper, a commander of the Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) – also known as the Hashd al-Shaabi – has threatened the US commander in charge of the al-Zahra base that the militia forces would attack the installation if it is used for flying fighter jets to attack Syria. The Lebanese paper added that the US military has asked the Iraqi government to deploy army troops to break the siege. (Middle East Institute)

04-15-2018
Syria Conflict

The Yemeni government says that Iran supplied the Houthi rebels with drones used to attack Saudi Arabia.

The Yemeni government says that Iran supplied the Houthi rebels with drones used to attack Saudi Arabia. On Wednesday, Riyadh said it shot down two drones in the south of the country and intercepted ballistic missiles launched by the Houthis in Yemen. The drones are “made in Iran”, said Yemen’s internationally-recognised government on Saturday. It added that the country’s military did not possess such aircraft and it was “impossible to manufacture them locally”. (The National)

04-14-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said coordinated air strikes on Syria by the United States, France and Britain were a crime that would bring no benefit.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said coordinated air strikes on Syria by the United States, France and Britain on Saturday were a crime that would bring no benefit. “Today’s dawn attack on Syria is a crime. I clearly declare that the president of the United States, the president of France and the British prime minister are criminals,” Khamenei said in a speech, according to his Twitter account. “They will not benefit (from the attack) as they went to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan in the past years and committed such crimes and did not gain any benefits,” Khamenei added. (Reuters)

04-12-2018
Extremism

“If Israel wants to continue its treacherous existence ... it should avoid stupid measures. If they give excuses to Iran, Tel Aviv and Haifa will be destroyed,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative said.

Iran could destroy Israel so Tel Aviv should avoid any stupid measures against the Islamic Republic, the supreme leader’s representative to the Quds force said on Thursday according to the semi-official Fars news agency. “If Israel wants to continue its treacherous existence ... it should avoid stupid measures. If they give excuses to Iran, Tel Aviv and Haifa will be destroyed,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative at the Quds force cleric Ali Shirazi was quoted by Fars as saying. “Iran can destroy Israel.” The Quds Force is the espionage and paramilitary wing, in charge of overseas operations, of the elite Revolutionary Guards. (Reuters)

04-12-2018
Human Rights

“More than half (51%) of all recorded executions in 2017 were carried out in Iran,” according to a report released on April 12 by London-based international human rights watchdog Amnesty International.

In a report released on April 12, London-based international human rights watchdog Amnesty International said “more than half (51%) of all recorded executions in 2017 were carried out in Iran.” Iran ranks second in the world after China in terms of executions and has “carried out 84% of the global total number of executions with Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.” However, Amnesty International has observed that there has been “a slight decrease (5%) in execution figures” in Iran compared to 2016. (Radio Farda)

04-10-2018
Nuclear Program

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the United States would regret withdrawing from the nuclear deal, and that Iran would respond in "less than a week" if that happened.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said yesterday that the United States would regret withdrawing from the nuclear deal, and that Iran would respond in "less than a week" if that happened. "We will not be the first to violate the accord but they should definitely know that they will regret it if they violate it," Rouhani told a conference to mark National Nuclear Technology Day in Tehran. "We are much more prepared than they think, and they will see that if they violate this accord, within a week, less than a week, they will see the result." (Agence France Presse)

04-05-2018
Politics

A group of 300 conservative figures in Iran wrote an open letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asking for structural reforms for the country.

A group of 300 conservative figures in Iran wrote an open letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asking for structural reforms for the country. The letter, which was published on various Telegram channels, was billed as an open letter from “officials of revolutionary organizations and student activists … about existing concerns regarding the state of the Islamic Republic and the need for fundamental reforms.” The letter is rare given that calls for reform addressed directly to the supreme leader typically do not come from the right but from Reformist figures or groups.

 

The letter stated that while these groups of activists have written about the state of the country regarding their concerns, they have never written to Khamenei directly. However, in accordance with their view, “day by day the government is resembling a lifeless body and breaking from within … and in consideration that the country needs structural and fundamental reforms … and no other official has the discretion,” they decided it was time to address Khamenei directly. (Al-Monitor)

04-04-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran's influence is looming large as Iraqis prepare to head to the polls for parliamentary elections in May, with many in the country worried that Tehran may be looking to strengthen its political grip on Baghdad through the ballot box.

Iran's influence is looming large as Iraqis prepare to head to the polls for parliamentary elections in May, with many in the country worried that Tehran may be looking to strengthen its political grip on Baghdad through the ballot box.

Iranian support and military advisers helped Baghdad's Shiite-led government beat back the Islamic State group. But with IS militants now largely defeated militarily, Iran's expanding influence has emerged as one of Iraq's most divisive issues ahead of the balloting.

That influence has sown fear among Iraq's disenchanted minority Sunnis, who bore the brunt of the war's destruction, and has also caused concern in Washington. Despite tensions between the United States and Iran, both remain key allies of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis last month accused Iran of "mucking around" in Iraq's upcoming elections, telling reporters the U.S. has what he called "worrisome evidence" that Iran is funneling "not an insignificant amount of money" into Iraq to try to sway votes. Baghdad rejected the accusation. (Associated Press)

04-03-2018
Extremism

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attacked the United States and Israel for their roles in Syria before he boarded a plane for Turkey where he was scheduled to meet President Tayyip Erdogan and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attacked the United States and Israel for their roles in Syria before he boarded a plane for Turkey where he was scheduled to meet President Tayyip Erdogan and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The Americans are against the Syrian government establishing its authority throughout the whole country and are even thinking of a breakup [of the country],” he said in a ceremony broadcast live from Tehran’s Mehrabad airport.

“There’s interference from Zionist forces in Syria which has increased problems. They don’t respect Syrian national sovereignty. They bomb areas in Syria. They support terrorists. These are all issues which have increased Syria’s problems,” he said. (Reuters)

04-02-2018
Human Rights

The husband of a British-Iranian woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, being held in an Iranian jail said the case had now gone beyond his worst fears, with the two-year anniversary of her detention passing without any sign of her release.

The husband of a British-Iranian woman being held in an Iranian jail said the case had now gone beyond his worst fears, with the two-year anniversary of her detention due to pass on Tuesday without any sign of her release.

The MP Tulip Siddiq said she believed Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, had been given false hope by the Foreign Office in the run-up to Boris Johnson’s visit to Iran late last year.

She said she had seen hope ebb away after the charity worker was detained past Christmas and also beyond the Iranian new year two weeks ago.

Ratcliffe has not seen his wife or his daughter Gabriella since his wife’s detention in 2016. (The Guardian)

03-30-2018
Military

Four days into 2018, two Iranian nationals tried to buy parts of an advanced missile in Kyiv, according a spokesperson for the Ukrainian intelligence service. This effort appears to have violated a UN arms embargo on Iran.

Four days into 2018, two Iranian nationals tried to buy parts of an advanced missile in Kyiv, according a spokesperson for the Ukrainian intelligence service. This effort appears to have violated a UN arms embargo on Iran.

Masked men in Ukraine’s secret police arrested the men and found parts of the missile in their vehicle, according to the spokesperson. What followed became a secret diplomatic incident, and both men were detained and then quietly deported to Iran.

Vasyl Hrytsak, the head of Ukraine’s intelligence service, described this all to American government officials during a recent trip to Washington.

The attempt as alleged by Ukrainian intelligence sources likely violated United Nations’ prohibitions on Iranian arms procurement. And it shows Iran may intend to procure weapons that would let it make the Persian Gulf more dangerous than ever. (Daily Beast)

03-28-2018
Terrorism

Top Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk said that Hamas-Iran relations were the closest they had been since the Syrian civil war blew up in 2011.

Top Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk has said in an interview to London’s Al-Hiwar television station that Hamas-Iran relations were the closest they had been since the Syrian civil war blew up in 2011.

 His comments were reported on Wednesday by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center after years of the Syrian war in which Hamas and Iran reduced their cooperation as Iran supported the Shi’ite-allied Assad regime and Hamas supported a range of Sunni rebel forces.

But with the Assad regime having mostly defeated the Sunni forces and with Hamas’ resources and allies limited to a historic low, Abu Marzouk said that no one had any right to criticize Hamas for accepting military or economic aid from Iran. (Jerusalem Post)

03-27-2018
Human Rights

The Islamic Republic of Iran, along with China, Syria, Turkey, and Vietnam, held its position as one of the five largest prisons for journalists in the world as of the end of the last Iranian year ending March 21, according to Reporters Without Borders.

The Islamic Republic, along with China, Syria, Turkey, and Vietnam, held its position as one of the five largest prisons for journalists in the world as of the end of the last Iranian year ending March 21, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) told Radio Farda.

Speaking to Radio Farda’s Mahtab Vahidi Rad, RSF Iran Desk Head Reza Moeinei said Iran ranked 165 out of 180 countries listed according to how dangerous they are for journalists, with 180 being the most dangerous.

Iran has been among the 15 most dangerous countries for journalists since Reporters Without Borders (RSF) initiated the rankings more than twenty years ago, evaluating countries on the basis of their degree of safety for media staff. (Radio Farda)

03-26-2018
Syria Conflict

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels fired a barrage of ballistic missiles targeting Saudi Arabia on the third anniversary of a kingdom-led war in Yemen, with fragments of one missile over Riyadh killing one person and wounding two.

Yemen's Shiite rebels fired a barrage of ballistic missiles targeting Saudi Arabia late Sunday on the third anniversary of a kingdom-led war in Yemen, with fragments of one missile over Riyadh killing one person and wounding two. The casualties were the first in Saudi Arabia's capital since the Saudi-led war in Yemen began in March 2015, though previous rockets fired by the Yemeni rebels have caused deaths in other parts of the kingdom.

The rebels known as Houthis said they launched a missile attack targeting Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport and other sites, again showing their ability to strike deep into the neighboring kingdom amid the stalemated war in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country. (CBS News)

03-26-2018
Syria Conflict

Roadside bombs disguised as rocks in Yemen bear similarities to others used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and by insurgents in Iraq and Bahrain, suggesting at the least an Iranian influence in their manufacture, a watchdog group said.

Roadside bombs disguised as rocks in Yemen bear similarities to others used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and by insurgents in Iraq and Bahrain, suggesting at the least an Iranian influence in their manufacture, a watchdog group said on Monday.

The report by Conflict Armament Research comes as the West and United Nations researchers accuse Iran of supplying arms to Yemen’s Shiite rebels known as Houthis, who have held the country’s capital since September 2014.

Those weapons allegedly included ballistic missiles used to target Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition of Arab nations backed by the United States that is stuck in a stalemate war with the Houthis. A barrage of Houthi missile fire late on Sunday killed one person in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and wounded two others. (Associated Press)

03-23-2018
Terrorism

The Trump administration announced sanctions and criminal indictments against an Iranian hacker network it said was involved in “one of the largest state-sponsored hacking campaigns” ever ever prosecuted by the United States.

The Trump administration on Friday announced sanctions and criminal indictments against an Iranian hacker network it said was involved in “one of the largest state-sponsored hacking campaigns” ever prosecuted by the United States, targeting hundreds of U.S. and foreign universities, as well as dozens of U.S. companies and government agencies, and the United Nations. None of the alleged hackers were direct employees of the Iranian government, but all worked at the behest of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, officials said. While not the first such punishments imposed on Iran for malicious cyber acts, the new measures address more extensive Iranian efforts than previously alleged. Nine of 10 named individuals were connected to the Mabna Institute, a Shiraz-based tech firm that the Justice Department alleged hacks on behalf of Iranian universities and the IRGC. The institute conducted “massive, coordinated intrusions” into the computer systems of at least 144 U.S. universities and 176 foreign universities in 21 countries, including Britain and Canada, officials said. (Washington Post)

03-21-2018
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran has neutralized US plans in the Middle East, in a speech marking the Persian New Year.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran has neutralized US plans in the Middle East, in a speech Wednesday marking the Persian New Year. “Those who interfere in all the affairs of the world protest and ask: ‘Why does Iran intervene in the affairs of Iraq and Syria?’ What is it to you? The Islamic Republic of Iran has succeeded in neutralizing US plans in the region,” he said. Khamenei accused the United States of planning to “create oppressive and rebel groups like Daesh [the Islamic State group] to distract people in the region from the Zionist regime [Israel] and keep them occupied with internal conflicts.” (Agence France Presse)

03-19-2018
Politics

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad disclosed the size of Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei's fortune estimated at $800 billion toman, the equivalent of about $190 bln.

In an uncommon escalation of the brewing power struggle within the different wings in Iran, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad disclosed the size of Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei's fortune estimated at $800 billion toman, the equivalent of about $190 bln, accusing him of stealing people' money and advancing oppression to silence critics. The dolatebahar website, associated with Ahmadinejad, published two lengthy letters on Sunday from Ahmadinejad addressing Khamenei, criticizing the acquisition of some $190 bln in illegal ways that are not subject to financial control by the institutions of the Supreme Leader. According to Ahmadinejad, these funds were appropriated to institutions under the control of the leader's office, counting the Benayad 15 Khordad Foundation, the Benayad Mistaathafen Foundation, the Stad Agri Ferman Imam Center, the Revolutionary Guard Cooperative Benyad Taawon Sibeh, the army cooperative Benayad Artash , the Basij Cooperation Niyad Basij cooperation, the Ministry of Defense Cooperative Benayad Cooperative for Defense Ministries and the Khomeini Charitable Committee Khimtah Imded Imam Khomeini. (Al Arabiya)

03-15-2018
Syria Conflict

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday accused Iran of funneling money into Iraq to sway the outcome of its elections in May, calling it part of a broader pattern of destabilizing Iranian actions across the Middle East.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday accused Iran of funneling money into Iraq to sway the outcome of its elections in May, calling it part of a broader pattern of destabilizing Iranian actions across the Middle East. Mr. Mattis declined to say what outcome Iran was aiming for in Iraq, but he said it was sending “not an insignificant amount of money” to the country to sway votes. He mentioned no dollar amounts. (New York Times)

03-14-2018
Politics

Escalating street protests by Iranians against water shortages in a rural part of central Iran have inspired more domestic criticism of the government's handling of the nation's water resources.

Escalating street protests by Iranians against water shortages in a rural part of central Iran have inspired more domestic criticism of the government's handling of the nation's water resources. Overseas-based human rights groups say the protests by farmers in Varzaneh in Isfahan province began last month and escalated into violent confrontations with security forces last week. Iranian state-affiliated news agency Mehr said a member of parliament for Isfahan province blamed the violence on the government. In a report published Sunday, Mehr quoted Hassan Kamran-Dastjerdi as telling an open session of parliament that Iran's energy ministry has "plundered" water from Varzaneh's farmers by redirecting it to steel factories and refineries in neighboring areas. He said the farmers had been working on the land along the Zayandeh River for centuries. (Voice of America)

03-12-2018
Human Rights

An unnamed British-Iranian national has been sentenced to six years in prison on spying charges, the official news agency of Iran’s judiciary reported, the latest dual national convicted in the country.

An unnamed British-Iranian national has been sentenced to six years in prison on spying charges, the official news agency of Iran’s judiciary reported Sunday, the latest dual national convicted in the country. Mizan news agency quoted Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi announcing the sentencing, though he did not elaborate on what the charges entailed. However, there is no known case of a British-Iranian national being sentenced to six years in prison, suggesting this is a new case. (Associated Press)

03-11-2018
Human Rights

British broadcaster the BBC said it was appealing to the United Nations to protect its journalists in Iran after it said persecution and harassment by the Iranian authorities escalated in 2017.

British broadcaster the BBC said on Monday it was appealing to the United Nations to protect its journalists in Iran after it said persecution and harassment by the Iranian authorities escalated in 2017. “The BBC is taking the unprecedented step of appealing to the United Nations because our own attempts to persuade the Iranian authorities to end their harassment have been completely ignored,” BBC Director General Tony Hall said in a statement. “In fact, during the past nine years, the collective punishment of BBC Persian Service journalists and their families has worsened.” (Reuters)

03-08-2018
Human Rights

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, seeking to stop women removing their head scarves in public, defended the garments Thursday, saying wearing them protected against “a deviant lifestyle.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, seeking to stop women removing their head scarves in public, defended the garments Thursday, saying wearing them protected against “a deviant lifestyle.” The comments were the first from Iran’s most powerful figure since the spread of a movement in which women remove their head scarves, or hijabs, in the streets, to protest against laws requiring them to don them in public places. Scores of women have been captured on video with their heads uncovered in 2018 in cities and towns across the country. “By promoting modest dress (#hijab), #Islam has blocked the path which would lead women to such a deviant lifestyle,” Mr. Khamenei said Thursday on his official Twitter account. “Hijab is a means of immunity, not restriction.” (Wall Street Journal)

03-07-2018
Nuclear Program

A senior Iranian military official said his country has tripled its missile production, amid efforts by the international community to curb it.

A senior Iranian military official said his country has tripled its missile production, amid efforts by the international community to curb it. Speaking at his military headquarters, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force, also slammed the world powers, including Israel, for their “hypocrisy” in trying to contain Iran’s military aspirations and limit its missile production, Iran’s Fars news agency reported Wednesday. “In the past we had to explain our actions to various bodies, but not any more,” he said. “The law of the world is the hands of the United States, Britain, France and the Zionist regime and they have written these laws with arrogance. But if they want they change them.” (Times of Israel)

03-05-2018
Human Rights

Iran has arrested activists and political opponents in a clampdown on freedom of expression as use of torture continues despite promises of reform, a United Nations report said.

Iran has arrested activists and political opponents in a clampdown on freedom of expression as use of torture continues despite promises of reform, a United Nations report said on Monday. The report was compiled by Asma Jahangir, a Pakistani lawyer serving as U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Iran who died suddenly last month. Her report to the U.N. Human Rights Council was finalised, although diplomats said Tehran had tried to block its publication. (Reuters)

03-05-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran said it could produce higher enriched uranium within two days if the United States quit a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six major powers.

Iran said on Monday it could produce higher enriched uranium within two days if the United States quit a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six major powers, Tehran’s Arabic language al-Alam TV reported. “If America pulls out of the deal ... Iran could resume its 20 percent uranium enrichment in less than 48 hours,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, told al-Alam TV. Uranium refined to 20 percent fissile purity is well beyond the 5 percent normally required to fuel civilian nuclear power plants, though still well short of highly enriched, or 80-90 percent, purity needed for a nuclear bomb. (Reuters)

03-03-2018
Terrorism

Bahrain said it had rounded up 116 members of an armed network established and supported by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, suspected of plotting attacks on Bahraini government officials and security forces.

Bahrain said on Saturday it had rounded up 116 members of an armed network established and supported by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, suspected of plotting attacks on Bahraini government officials and security forces. The interior ministry in Bahrain said in a statement that investigators found sites used by the militants to manufacture and store explosives intended to be used for “terrorist attacks”. (Reuters)

03-01-2018
Terrorism

An Iran-based hacking group that in the past has conducted domestic surveillance is turning its gaze outward across the Middle East, according to a new report from Symantec.

An Iran-based hacking group that in the past has conducted domestic surveillance is turning its gaze outward across the Middle East, according to a new report from Symantec. The cybersecurity firm said last year, the group attacked organizations in Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Some of the sectors the group, known as Chafer, has targeted include airlines, aircraft services, telecom firms, and technology companies serving the air and sea transport sectors. (CNBC)

03-01-2018
Extremism

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his "resistance" after seven years of war.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last say on all state matters, on Thursday praised Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his "resistance" after seven years of war. "Syria is on the front lines today; it is our duty to defend the Syrian resistance," Khamenei said, quoted on his official website. "Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, appeared as a great example of resistance and a fighting image; he never hesitated and stood strong: this is extremely important for a nation," he added. (Agence France Presse)

02-28-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran has built another permanent military base outside Syria’s capital city complete with hangers used to store missiles capable of hitting all of Israel, according to Western intelligence sources.

Iran has built another permanent military base outside Syria’s capital city complete with hangers used to store missiles capable of hitting all of Israel, according to Western intelligence sources. Exclusive satellite images from ImageSat International obtained by Fox News show what is believed to be the new Iranian base, eight miles northwest of Damascus, operated by the Quds Force — the special operations arm of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).  The photos show two new white hangars, each roughly 30 yards by 20 yards, used to store short- and medium-range missiles. (Fox News)

02-27-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran is a major threat to U.S. interests and the long-term stability of the Mideast, the head of U.S. military's Central Command warned U.S lawmakers.

Iran is a major threat to U.S. interests and the long-term stability of the Mideast, the head of U.S. military's Central Command warned U.S lawmakers Tuesday. "Iran is generating instability across the region, and the Iranian Threat Network continues to increase in strength, enhancing its capacity to threaten U.S. and partner nation interests," General Joe Votel said in a 45-page set of prepared remarks he presented to the House Armed Services Committee during a hearing on terrorism. (VOA)

02-27-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran blasted US President Donald Trump’s conditions for renewing a landmark nuclear deal it signed in 2015 between with world powers, calling the conditions “worthless” and “inappropriate.”

Iran blasted US President Donald Trump’s conditions for renewing a landmark nuclear deal it signed in 2015 between with world powers, calling the conditions “worthless” and “inappropriate.” “The US has a long-term experience of raising allegations and projecting the blame on Iran and this story will continue given the US excessive demands,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters Monday in Tehran. “We should not take seriously the words which are in vain and worthless, because such words are continuously repeated and I think that they will not yield any results for the US,” he added, according to the semi-official Fars news site. (Times of Israel)

02-25-2018
Syria Conflict

Iran said pro-Damascus forces would press ahead with attacks on eastern Ghouta, an insurgent enclave near the Syrian capital, in defiance of a U.N. resolution demanding a 30-day truce across the country.

Iran said pro-Damascus forces would press ahead with attacks on an insurgent enclave near the Syrian capital, as ground fighting raged on there in defiance of a U.N. resolution demanding a 30-day truce across the country. Anti-government rebels said they clashed with pro-government forces near Damascus on Sunday, as rescuers and residents said warplanes struck some towns in the eastern Ghouta pocket. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said air strikes and artillery killed nine people and injured 31 in the eastern suburbs. (Reuters)

02-23-2018
Human Rights

Iranian security officers have arrested two women who protested against the compulsory hijab in Tehran by removing their head scarves in public and waving them while standing on utility boxes.

Iranian security officers have arrested two women who protested against the compulsory hijab in Tehran by removing their head scarves in public and waving them while standing on utility boxes. Shaparak Shadizadeh, one of the two women arrested, was taken into custody on February 21. Her family said she was beaten up during the arrest. Another woman was reportedly arrested on February 22. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

02-22-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran will withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal if there is no economic benefit and major banks continue to shun the Islamic Republic, its deputy foreign minister said.

Iran will withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal if there is no economic benefit and major banks continue to shun the Islamic Republic, its deputy foreign minister said on Thursday. Under the deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in return for the removal of sanctions that have crippled its economy. Despite that, big banks have continued to stay away for fear of falling foul of remaining U.S. sanctions - something that has hampered Iran’s efforts to rebuild foreign trade and lure investment. (Reuters)

02-22-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran has disclosed plans to develop nuclear reactors for ships, despite a deal with world powers that curtails its atomic program.

Iran has disclosed plans to develop nuclear reactors for ships, despite a deal with world powers that curtails its atomic program. The project is likely to get a cool response in Washington. Tehran has told United Nations nuclear inspectors of its plan to build nuclear reactors for ships, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Thursday. In a quarterly report on Iran's conformity with the landmark 2015 nuclear deal that restricted Tehran's nuclear ambitions, the IAEA said the Islamic Republic remained compliant and had informed the agency of a "decision that has been taken to construct naval nuclear propulsion in future." (Deutsche Welle)

02-20-2018
Extremism

Tel Aviv will be “leveled to the ground” if Israel attacks Iran, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not escape with his life, a senior official in the Islamic republic’s regime threatened.

Tel Aviv will be “leveled to the ground” if Israel attacks Iran, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not escape with his life, a senior official in the Islamic republic’s regime threatened. His comments came in response to Netanyahu’s speech on Sunday at the Munich Security Conference, in which the prime minister brandished a piece of an Iranian drone downed in Israeli airspace and threatened direct military action against Iran. “About Netanyahu’s unwise words, I should say that if they carry out the slightest unwise move against Iran, we will level Tel Aviv to the ground,” Mohsen Rezaei, secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council and former chief of the country’s Revolutionary Guards, told the Hezbollah-affiliated Arabic-language al-Manar TV channel Monday. (Times of Israel)

02-15-2018
Extremism

Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force, lashed out at Israel during a commemoration for a Hezbollah figure killed in a 2008 Damascus car bombing that the group blamed on Israel.

A top Iranian general has lashed out at Israel during a commemoration for a Hezbollah figure killed in a 2008 Damascus car bombing that the group blamed on Israel. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force, pledged retaliation for Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s ex-military chief who was considered one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists by Israel and the United States. Soleimani says the appropriate revenge for Mughniyeh’s slaying is “not launching one missile or killing one person, but the dismantling and uprooting of the baby-killing Zionist regime.” (The Associated Press)

02-14-2018
Syria Conflict

Hezbollah claims it will have nearly half-a-million missiles aimed at Israel within the next year amid ongoing efforts by the Islamic Republic to transfer advanced missile technology to regional hotspots such as Lebanon and Syria.

An Iranian-backed terror group claims it will have nearly half-a-million missiles aimed at Israel within the next year amid ongoing efforts by the Islamic Republic to transfer advanced missile technology to regional hotspots such as Lebanon and Syria, which are located on Israel's borders. Militants tied to Hezbollah, the Iranian-controlled terror group that operates along Israel's northern border in Lebanon, claim they have deployed more than 70,000 long-range missiles across Syria and Lebanon in preparation for a strike on Israel. The number of missiles could grow to nearly half-a-million within the next year, according to these militant groups. (Washington Free Beacon)

02-11-2018
Anti-Americanism

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied to mark the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, denouncing the United States and Israel as oppressors.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied on Sunday to mark the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, denouncing the United States and Israel as oppressors. In a show of defiance of Western pressure to curb its ballistic missile program, Iran put its Ghadr ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km (1,240 miles) on display in Tehran’s central Vali-ye Asr street. (Reuters)

02-11-2018
Human Rights

An Iranian-Canadian university professor detained in Tehran has died in custody, marking the latest suspicious death of a detainee in Iran after a crackdown on dissent following nationwide protests.

An Iranian-Canadian university professor detained in Tehran has died in custody, activists and a family member said Sunday, marking the latest suspicious death of a detainee in Iran after a crackdown on dissent following nationwide protests. They identified the professor as Kavous Seyed-Emami, a 63-year-old professor of sociology at Imam Sadeq University in Tehran and the managing director of the Persian Heritage Wildlife Foundation. His son and the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran say that authorities told Seyed-Emami's family that he committed suicide in custody, something they described as suspicious following other detainee deaths. (The Associated Press)

02-10-2018
Syria Conflict

In its most serious engagement in neighboring Syria since fighting there began in 2011, Israel shot down an infiltrating Iranian drone and struck Iranian targets deep in Syria before one of its own jets was downed.

In its most serious engagement in neighboring Syria since fighting there began in 2011, Israel shot down an infiltrating Iranian drone Saturday and struck Iranian targets deep in Syria before one of its own jets was downed. The sudden escalation offers what could be a harbinger of what lies ahead as the Syrian fighting winds down and an emboldened Iran establishes a military presence that Israel vows it will never accept. Israel has issued several stern warnings of late about the increased Iranian involvement along its border in Syria and Lebanon. The Israeli Cabinet just held a meeting near the Syrian border to highlight the new threats, which it attributes to Iran's growing confidence given the success of the government of Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war thanks to their support. (ABC News)

02-08-2018
Anti-Americanism

The two main Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq warn that U.S. forces in the country face possible attack by their forces, should Washington not carry out a full withdrawal of American troops from the country.

The two main Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq warn that U.S. forces in the country face possible attack by their forces, should Washington not carry out a full withdrawal of American troops from the country. Members of Shia-led Kata’ib Hezbollah, Badr Organization and other Iranian-linked paramilitaries under the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) banner stood ready to battle back against the American “occupation force” inside Iraq, said Kata’ib Hezbollah spokesman Jafar al-Hussaini. “Iraq will not see stability with America’s presence. The Americans have not entered Iraq based on the Iraqi government’s consent,” Mr. al-Hussaini said in an interview with Lebanese news outlets. “Our combatants have limited weapons but a confrontation with the American forces may begin at any moment. Unlike in the past, the Americans this time will not benefit from any mediation,” he added. (Washington Times)

02-06-2018
Human Rights

An ailing Iranian-American dual national held in Tehran was returned to prison after Iran's government refused to agree to an extended medical release.

An ailing Iranian-American dual national held in Tehran was returned to prison Tuesday after Iran's government refused to agree to an extended medical release, his family and attorney said. Iran's judiciary had allowed 81-year-old Baquer Namazi to leave Evin prison for a few days following recent surgery to install a pacemaker, but his family had hoped it would be extended. Lawyer Jared Genser said Namazi was assessed by Iran's medical examiner, who recommended he be allowed a three-month respite and left open the possibility it could be extended even longer. Amid high hopes that Iran would allow the three-month leave, Namazi's family received a call Tuesday from prison officials informing them that he must return immediately. He was dropped off at the prison shortly thereafter, Genser said, calling it "tantamount to a death sentence that will be imposed quickly." (The Associated Press)

02-06-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has again ruled out negotiations on the country's missiles program, saying it did not aim to make weapons of mass destruction.

Iran's President Hassan Rohani has again ruled out negotiations on the country's missiles program, saying it did not aim to make weapons of mass destruction. "We will not negotiate with anyone about our weapons," Rohani told a press conference in Tehran on February 6. "Our missiles are used to defend ourselves. They are defensive. They have not been made to be used as weapons of mass destruction." (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

02-05-2018
Military

Iran announced that it has begun mass-producing a new weaponized drone that carries smart bombs capable of precision strikes.

Iran announced on Monday that it has begun mass-producing a new weaponized drone that carries smart bombs capable of precision strikes, according to the Islamic Republic's military leaders. Iran, which has engaged in a massive military buildup since receiving billions of dollars in cash windfalls as a result of the landmark nuclear deal, says that these advanced new drones will be delivered to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, or IRGC, which has been coordinating war efforts across the Middle East, including most controversially in Syria, where Iranian-backed forces have attacked U.S. troops. The new drones, dubbed the Mohajer 6, are "equipped with the smart Qa'em precision-striking bombs and different electro-optical explorers and different warheads, [and] can trace, intercept and destroy the target," Iranian Defense Minister and Brigadier General Amir Hatami said on Monday during a speech celebrating the new weaponry. (Washington Free Beacon)

02-05-2018
Syria Conflict

Saudi Arabia's air force intercepts a ballistic missile launched by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia's air force intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Kingdom's military said Monday. Col. Turki Al-Maliki, a spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition supporting the Yemeni government, told state media that the missile was launched from Yemen's northern government of Sa'adah and targeted the city of Khamis Mushait, about 100 miles north of the Saudi-Yemen border. Maliki accused the Houthis of targeting densely populated cities and accused the Iranian regime of violating international law by providing "tangible capabilities" to the rebel group. He also called on the international community "to hold Iran accountable for its support and blatant defiance of international norms, values, and laws." (Fox News)

02-02-2018
Human Rights

Tehran police arrest 29 women for appearing in public without a headscarf as protests against the dress code in force since the Islamic revolution of 1979 intensify.

Tehran police have arrested 29 women for appearing in public without a headscarf as protests against the dress code in force since the Islamic revolution of 1979 intensify, Iranian media reported Friday. Those arrested were accused of public order offences and referred to the state prosecutor's office, the Fars, ILNA and Tasnim news agencies reported without elaborating. (Agence France Presse)

02-02-2018
Politics

Iranians are deeply dissatisfied with their government’s management of the economy and want it to do more to fight corruption, according to the first major gauge of public opinion since widespread protests rocked the country last month.

Iranians are deeply dissatisfied with their government’s management of the economy and want it to do more to fight corruption, according to the first major gauge of public opinion since widespread protests rocked the country last month. The survey, carried out by phone interviewers under the auspices of the University of Maryland, provides a rare glimpse of political and economic views in a country where reliable polling is scarce, and comes just weeks after the biggest bout of unrest in Iran this decade caught the ruling class by surprise. Those protests started as complaints against financial fraud and rising prices but very quickly turned into demonstrations against Iran’s regime. (Wall Street Journal)

02-01-2018
Syria Conflict

The top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says the country’s leadership had no intention of reining in its influence across the Middle East despite U.S. pressure to do so.

The top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday the country’s leadership had no intention of reining in its influence across the Middle East despite U.S. pressure to do so, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. U.S. President Donald Trump, who sees Iran as a rising threat to regional stability in the Middle East, has pledged to work with Gulf Arab states and Israel to curb what they say are Tehran’s attempts to extend its influence in the region. “Iran’s influence in the region is inevitable and to remain a key player in the region, this influence will continue,” the adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, was quoted by Fars as saying. (Reuters)

01-30-2018
Human Rights

An Iranian court has sentenced a wealthy Iranian-American art gallery owner and his wife to long prison terms on espionage and other charges.

An Iranian court has sentenced a wealthy Iranian-American art gallery owner and his wife to long prison terms on espionage and other charges, according to a letter he wrote from jail. Karan Vafadari, a 55-year-old landowner and member of the Zoroastrian religious minority, was given a sentence of 27 years in prison, 124 lashes and a cash fine of $243,000 and confiscation of all his assets, according to the letter, which was published Tuesday on the website of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based human-rights organization. Mr. Vafadari’s wife, Afarin Nayssari, a 46-year-old architect and U.S. green-card holder, was sentenced to 16 years in prison, according to the letter, whose authenticity was confirmed by Mr. Vafadari’s family. The couple have been held in Tehran’s Evin prison since July 2016. (Wall Street Journal)

01-25-2018
Syria Conflict

“Iran is currently controlling 82,000 fighters in Syria,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the UN Security Council.

“Iran is currently controlling 82,000 fighters in Syria,” Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the UN Security Council on Thursday. Danon told the executive body that he was ready to expose “classified information” for the first time, “because it is vital for the world to understand that if we turn a blind eye in Syria, the Iranian threat will only grow. This includes 3,000 members of Iran’s infamous Revolutionary Guard, 9,000 fighters from Iran’s proxy Hezbollah, and 10,000 members of violent Shi’a militias recruited from across the Middle East including Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In addition, Iran also directly commands 60,000 local Syrian fighters.” (Jerusalem Post)

01-25-2018
Military

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has green-lighted the siphoning of $2.5 billion from a currency-reserve fund to boost military spending.

With some Iranians still hopping mad about state spending on religious institutions and foreign military ventures, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has green-lighted the siphoning of $2.5 billion from a currency-reserve fund to boost military spending. The announcement follows by less than two weeks an official clampdown on street protests over rising prices and other economic grievances that spread to more than 90 cities, according to RFE/RL's Radio Farda. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

01-18-2018
Terrorism

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh penned a letter to Supreme Leader Khamenei praising Iranian support for the militant group, and particularly Tehran’s “unwavering and valuable” stance on the issue of Jerusalem.

In a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Palestinian Hamas, has praised Iranian support for the militant group, and particularly Tehran’s “unwavering and valuable” stance on the issue of Jerusalem. According to the Iranian media, Haniyeh denounced President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and emphasized in the letter that launching another intifada against Israel would be the best course of action at present. "With the outbreak of the roaring popular Intifada in the West Bank and al-Quds, we will foil with God's permission the conspiracy of the tyrant of the time and the rulers of hypocrisy in the capitals near and far, who want to put an end to the Palestinian issue." He also thanked Khamenei for his guidance to the “resistance movement” and cautioned that Washington’s Jerusalem announcement was part of a broader “conspiracy” to “destroy the pillars of resistance” and pave the way for Israel’s normalization of relations with the Islamic countries in the region. (Middle East Institute)

01-17-2018
Terrorism

German security forces raided the homes of 10 suspected Iranian spies believed to be members of the IRGC Quds Force. The suspected spies had been gathering information on the Israeli embassy in Berlin and targets related to the local Jewish community.

The German journalist who first reported raids by local security forces at the homes of suspected Iranian spies across Germany supplied new details Wednesday about the Israeli and Jewish targets allegedly monitored by the suspects. Josef Hufelschulte, of the weekly German-language magazine FOCUS, told Israeli public broadcaster Kan that the suspected spies had been gathering information on the Israeli embassy in Berlin, as well as on targets related to the local Jewish community, including kindergartens. The operatives were monitored by German intelligence services for two months before the raids were conducted, Hufelschulte said. On Tuesday, German authorities said they were conducting searches across the country in connection with 10 suspected Iranian spies, with FOCUS magazine claiming that they were members of an elite military force that had been eyeing Israeli and Jewish targets. The report said that arrest warrants for the suspects listed them as members of the al-Quds force, which is part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States. (Times of Israel)

01-08-2018
Nuclear Program

Iran says it might reconsider its cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog if the United States failed to respect its commitments in the nuclear deal Tehran struck with world powers in 2015.

Iran said on Monday it might reconsider its cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog if the United States failed to respect its commitments in the nuclear deal Tehran struck with world powers in 2015. U.S. President Donald Trump must decide by mid-January whether to continue waiving U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports under the terms of the nuclear pact that eased economic pressure on Tehran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. In October, Trump refused to certify that Iran was complying with the deal, also known by its acronym JCPOA, even though the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it was. “If the United States does not meet its commitment in the JCPOA, the Islamic Republic of Iran would take decisions that might affect its current cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, was quoted as telling IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in a phone call. (Reuters)

01-04-2018
Human Rights

More than a thousand people have been rounded up and detained in Iran over the past week as authorities try to quell the largest street protests in nearly a decade.

More than a thousand people have been rounded up and detained in Iran over the past week, rights groups and the State Department said Thursday, as authorities try to quell the largest street protests in nearly a decade.  Amnesty International warned that those being held risk torture and ill-treatment in the country’s prisons, calling for the release of those arrested for demonstrating peacefully. Earlier this week, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Court warned that arrested demonstrators could face the death penalty.  “The Iranian authorities have an appalling track record of carrying out mass arbitrary arrests of peaceful demonstrators,” said Philip Luther, the regional research and advocacy director at Amnesty. “Given the alarming scale of the current wave of arrests, it is highly likely that many of those held are peaceful protesters who have been detained arbitrarily and now find themselves in prisons where conditions are dire and torture is a common tool to extract confessions and punish dissidents.” (Washington Post)

01-02-2018
Human Rights

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed Iran's "enemies" for stirring up unrest in the country, as the death toll from days of anti-government protests climbed to 21.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday blamed Iran's "enemies" for stirring up unrest in the country, as the death toll from days of anti-government protests climbed to 21. In his first remarks since the demonstrations erupted last Thursday, Khamenei accused the nation's enemies of "joining forces" and blamed them for the protests that have turned violent. "The enemy is waiting for an opportunity, for a flaw, through which they can enter. Look at these events over the last few days. All those who are against the Islamic Republic -- those who have money, those who have the politics, those who have the weapons, those who have the intelligence -- they have all joined forces in order to create problems for the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolution," he said, without naming any particular country. (CNN)

12-24-2017
Syria Conflict

Syrian army forces backed by Iranian-backed militias pushed deeper into the last rebel-held enclave near a strategic border area with Israel and Lebanon in a new expansion of Tehran’s influence in the war-torn country.

Syrian army forces backed by Iranian-backed militias pushed deeper into the last rebel-held enclave near a strategic border area with Israel and Lebanon in a new expansion of Tehran’s influence in the war-torn country. The army and the Shi‘ite forces helped by Druze militias in the area advanced east and south of the Sunni-rebel held bastion of Beit Jin backed by some of the heaviest aerial bombing and artillery shelling since a major assault began more than two months ago to seize the area, rebels said. The Syrian army said it had encircled the village of Mughr al Meer at the foothills of Mount Hermon as troops moved toward Beit Jin amid fierce clashes. On Monday, the army said they had cut off insurgent supply lines and made further advances. The enclave is the last rebel bastion left in the southwest of Damascus known as the Western Ghouta that had since last year fallen under government control after months of heavy bombing on civilian areas and years of siege tactics that forced rebels to surrender. (Reuters)

12-14-2017
Syria Conflict

The United States presents for the first time pieces of what it says were Iranian weapons supplied to the Iran-aligned Houthi militia in Yemen, describing it as conclusive evidence that Tehran is violating U.N. resolutions.

The United States on Thursday presented for the first time pieces of what it said were Iranian weapons supplied to the Iran-aligned Houthi militia in Yemen, describing it as conclusive evidence that Tehran was violating U.N. resolutions. The arms included charred remnants of what the Pentagon said was an Iranian-made short-range ballistic missile fired from Yemen on Nov. 4 at King Khaled International Airport outside Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, as well as a drone and an anti-tank weapon recovered in Yemen by the Saudis. Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with such weaponry and on Thursday described the arms displayed as “fabricated.” (Reuters)

12-06-2017
Extremism

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blasts his US counterpart Donald Trump's plan to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, saying it would not be tolerated.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blasted his US counterpart Donald Trump's plan to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital on Wednesday, saying it would not be tolerated. Rouhani also spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by phone, describing Trump's announcement as "wrong, illegitimate, provocative and very dangerous", according to an account posted on the Iranian government's website. (Agence France Presse)

12-04-2017
Syria Conflict

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels kill the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, punishing him for switching sides and seeking peace with Saudi Arabia.

Yemen’s civil war has taken a dramatic turn after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels killed the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, punishing him for switching sides and seeking peace with Saudi Arabia. Pictures of Saleh’s corpse appeared on Houthi-run television after the militia said it had killed him as he fled the capital, Sana’a. He had ruled Yemen for more than 30 years and was forced to resign in 2011 as part of the Arab spring political revolution. Houthi military officials said Saleh was killed as he was travelling with other top party leaders from Sana’a to his hometown of Sanhan. Houthi fighters followed him in 20 armoured vehicles, then attacked and killed him and almost all those with him. Gruesome video footage of his blood-spattered body were distributed on social media. (The Guardian)

11-30-2017
Syria Conflict

For the second time in a month, the Saudi military has intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile it said was launched from Yemen. Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed success in the missile launch, saying it was a test firing.

For the second time in a month, the Saudi military has intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile it said was launched from Yemen on Thursday. The Saudi Press Agency, quoting Colonel Turki al-Maliki, the official spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the war in Yemen, said the missile was headed towards the Saudi city of Khamis Mushait on its southwestern border. It was destroyed without causing any casualties, the spokesman was quoted as saying, but there were no details on how the missile was intercepted. Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed success in the missile launch, saying it was a test firing, according to the pro-Houthi news agency SABA in Yemen. (CNN)

11-24-2017
Extremism

The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards threatens that any future war in the region will result in the annihilation of Israel.

The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Thursday threatened that any future war in the region will result in the annihilation of Israel. “It is a proven claim that today we say any new war will lead to the eradication of the Zionist regime,” Ali Jafari told Iranian reporters in Tehran according to semi-official media outlets. (Times of Israel)

11-16-2017
Syria Conflict

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi must disband the majority of the Iran-linked Shia paramilitary groups that fought alongside the army against the Islamic State or risk sparking an outbreak of sectarian violence.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi must disband the majority of the Iran-linked Shia paramilitary groups that fought alongside the army against the Islamic State or risk sparking an outbreak of sectarian violence following the terror group’s looming defeat, one of Iraq’s leading Sunni politicians warned Thursday. With the Islamic State nearly pushed out of the country, senior lawmakers and top leaders in the Abadi government face the task of knitting the often-feuding segments of Iraqi society back into a cohesive state, Salim al-Jubouri, speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, said on a visit to Washington. “Our message is not to be desperate” for U.S. or international intervention to avoid renewed fighting between Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and other minorities, he told the Washington-based think tank U.S. Institute for Peace. (Washington Times)

11-15-2017
Syria Conflict

Bahrain says a bomb attack on a police bus which killed an officer and wounded nine last month was carried out by a militant cell trained by its arch-foe Iran.

Bahrain said on Wednesday a bomb attack on a police bus which killed an officer and wounded nine last month was carried out by a militant cell trained by its arch-foe Iran. After authorities quashed Shi‘ite Muslim-led ”Arab Spring” protests on the Sunni-ruled island in 2011, militants have launched deadly bombing and shooting attacks against security forces that Bahrain blames on Tehran’s Shi‘ite theocracy. Iran denies any role in Bahrain’s unrest. (Reuters)

11-10-2017
Syria Conflict

Iran is establishing a permanent military base inside Syria.

Iran is establishing a permanent military base inside Syria, a Western intelligence source has told the BBC. The Iranian military is said to have established a compound at a site used by the Syrian army outside El-Kiswah, 14 km (8 miles) south of Damascus. The report comes amid growing tensions over Iranian influence in Syria and across the region. (BBC)

11-06-2017
Syria Conflict

Yemeni rebels’ missile attack on the Saudi capital could be considered an Iranian act of war, Saudi Arabia says, in a statement likely to intensify tensions between the archrivals.

Yemeni rebels’ missile attack on the Saudi capital on Saturday could be considered an Iranian act of war, Saudi Arabia said, in a statement likely to intensify tensions between the archrivals. Saudi Arabia intercepted the ballistic missile east of Riyadh’s main airport after it flew more than 500 miles from Yemen. It was fired by Houthi rebels, who are seen by Saudi Arabia as proxies of Iran. The Saudi-led military coalition that has been at war with the Houthis in Yemen for more than 2½ years “considers this a blatant act of military aggression by the Iranian regime and could rise to be considered as an act of war against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” according to a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency. Debris from the missile showed it was made in Iran, the statement said, adding that the coalition “reserves its right to respond to Iran in the appropriate time and manner, in accordance with international law and based on the right of self-defense.” (Wall Street Journal)

11-02-2017
Anti-Americanism

The United States is Iran’s “number one enemy” and Tehran will never succumb to Washington’s pressure over a multinational nuclear deal, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says in a televised speech.

The United States is Iran’s “number one enemy” and Tehran will never succumb to Washington’s pressure over a multinational nuclear deal, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech on Thursday. U.S. President Donald Trump broke ranks with other major powers last month by refusing to formally certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal. Under that deal, most sanctions on Iran were lifted in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear work. “The American president’s foolish remarks against our people show the depth of America’s hostility towards the entire Iranian nation,” Iran’s top authority Khamenei told a group of students. “America is the number one enemy of our nation.” (Reuters)

10-31-2017
Terrorism

The Israeli military faces thousands of cyber attacks a day and many are orchestrated by Iran whose hacking capabilities are improving.

The Israeli military faces thousands of cyber attacks a day and many are orchestrated by Iran whose hacking capabilities are improving, the Israeli general in charge of network security said. Major General Nadav Padan, who heads the military’s command, control, computer, communications and intelligence (C4I) plus cyber division, told a Reuters Summit that Iran has mounted attacks on Israel with the help of proxies like Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah. “They are not the state of the art, they are not the strongest superpower in the cyber dimension, but they are getting better and better,” Padan said. (Reuters)

10-26-2017
Human Rights

A U.N. special rapporteur says there has been little change in the human rights situation in Iran over the past year, voicing outrage over the harassment of journalists and adding that progress on women’s rights was extremely slow.

A U.N. special rapporteur said on Thursday there had been little change in the human rights situation in Iran over the past year, voicing outrage over the harassment of journalists and adding that progress on women’s rights was extremely slow. A day after submitting her report to the world body, Asma Jahangir, the U.N. special rapporteur on the Iran rights situation, told reporters that torture was widespread in Iran and that some people were imprisoned for seeking justice. Jahangir said she had not attempted to assess the impact of sanctions on human rights in Iran in her report because she had not been allowed to visit the country, which does not recognize her mandate. (Reuters)

10-18-2017
Nuclear Program

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Tehran willstick to its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers as long as the other signatories respected it, but will "shred it" if the United States pulled out.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday Tehran would stick to its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers as long as the other signatories respected it, but would "shred it" if the United States pulled out, state TV reported. Khamenei spoke five days after U.S. President Donald Trump adopted a harsh new approach to Iran by refusing to certify its compliance with the deal, reached under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, and saying he might ultimately terminate it. (Reuters)

10-13-2017
Nuclear Program

President Trump officially disavowed the international nuclear deal with Iran, undermining but not terminating an agreement he called weak and poorly constructed.

President Trump on Friday officially disavowed the international nuclear deal with Iran, undermining but not terminating an agreement he called weak and poorly constructed. The administration asked Congress to attach new caveats that could either alter the pact or lead to its rupture. Sounding frustrated and angry, Trump also threatened to unilaterally withdraw from the seven-nation accord if his concerns are not met. “We will not continue down the path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout,” Trump said in remarks delivered at the White House. His decision to withdraw presidential “certification” of the deal throws its future into doubt by tying continued U.S. participation to new requirements for Iran. But the approach also falls well short of Trump’s repeated campaign vow to scrap the deal altogether, marking the latest collision between his “America first” worldview and the realities of global diplomacy and dealmaking. (Washington Post)

10-09-2017
Nuclear Program

Iran tried to obtain illicit technology that could be used for military nuclear and ballistic missile programs, raising questions about a possible violation of the 2015 agreement intended to stop Tehran’s drive to become an atomic armed power.

Iran tried to obtain illicit technology that could be used for military nuclear and ballistic missile programs, raising questions about a possible violation of the 2015 agreement intended to stop Tehran’s drive to become an atomic armed power, according to three German intelligence reports obtained by Fox News. The new intelligence, detailing reports from September and October and disclosed just ahead of President Trump’s planned announcement Thursday on whether the U.S. will recertify the Iran deal, reveals that Iran’s regime made “32 procurement attempts … that definitely or with high likelihood were undertaken for the benefit of proliferation programs.” According to the document, the 32 attempts took place in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. (Fox News)

10-08-2017
Anti-Americanism

Iran warnes the United States against designating its Revolutionary Guards Corp as a terrorist group and says U.S. regional military bases would be at risk if further sanctions are passed.

Iran warned the United States against designating its Revolutionary Guards Corp as a terrorist group and said U.S. regional military bases would be at risk if further sanctions were passed. The warning came after the White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump would announce new U.S. responses to Iran’s missile tests, support for “terrorism” and cyber operations as part of his new Iran strategy. “As we’ve announced in the past, if America’s new law for sanctions is passed, this country will have to move their regional bases outside the 2,000 km range of Iran’s missiles,” Guards’ commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said, according to state media. (Reuters)

10-02-2017
Human Rights

Seven reformists in Iran including a brother of ex-president Mohammad Khatami have been given one-year jail terms and banned from all political and media activity for two years.

Seven reformists in Iran including a brother of ex-president Mohammad Khatami have been given one-year jail terms and banned from all political and media activity for two years, one said Monday. "I can confirm this report but we will have to appeal," university academic Mohammad Reza Jalaipour told AFP in a text message. Lawyer Hojat Kermani, quoted by ILNA news agency, named four of the other reformists convicted as ex-deputy parliament speaker Mohammad Reza Khatami, former legislator Mohsen Safaie Farahani, Azar Mansouri, a member of an advisory panel for president Khatami during his 1997-2005 term, and Hossein Kashefi. (Agence France Presse)

09-27-2017
Military

The commander of the Iranian Navy, announced that researchers are studying on nuclear-fueled engines for submarines, warships and destroyers to make them needless of refueling in long voyages in international waters.

Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the commander of the Iranian Navy, announced on Tuesday that researchers are studying on nuclear-fueled engines for submarines, warships and destroyers to make them needless of refueling in long voyages in international waters. In December 2016 President Hassan Rouhani ordered the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to start developing systems for nuclear-powered marine vessels. (Tehran Times)

09-23-2017
Nuclear Program

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard unveil its latest ballistic missile capable of reaching much of the Middle East, including Israel.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Friday unveiled its latest ballistic missile capable of reaching much of the Middle East, including Israel, while the country’s president vowed that Tehran would press ahead with its missile program in defiance of U.S. demands to the contrary. The unveiling came during a military parade in Tehran that commemorated the 1980s Iraq-Iran war. The move was a direct challenge to President Trump, who in August signed a bill imposing mandatory penalties on those involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. (The Associated Press)

09-12-2017
Syria Conflict

Iran signs deals with Damascus to repair Syria’s power grid.

Iran signed deals with Damascus on Tuesday to repair Syria’s power grid, state media said, a potentially lucrative move for Tehran that points to a deepening economic role after years of fighting in the Syrian conflict. Shunned by Western powers, the Syrian government is looking to friendly states such as Iran, Russia and China to play a major role in rebuilding the country, as the war heads toward its seventh year. Since at least 2012, Iran has provided critical military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, helping it regain control of swathes of the country. Iran experts say Tehran is now looking to reap a financial dividend. (Reuters)

09-09-2017
Nuclear Program

North Korea’s sudden advancement in developing nuclear weapons may be due to secret support from Iran, British officials fear.

North Korea’s sudden advancement in developing nuclear weapons may be due to secret support from Iran, British officials fear. The Foreign Office is investigating whether “current and former nuclear states” helped Kim Jong-Un in his drive to mount nuclear warheads on missiles. Senior Whitehall sources told The Sunday Telegraph it is not credible that North Korean scientists alone brought about the technological advances. Iran is top of the list of countries suspected of giving some form of assistance, while Russia is also in the spotlight. (The Telegraph)

09-03-2017
Human Rights

Iran confirms that an appeals court has upheld 10-year jail terms against a U.S. citizen, two Iranian-Americans and a U.S. resident from Lebanon who had been convicted on spying charges.

Iran confirmed on Sunday that an appeals court had upheld 10-year jail terms against a U.S. citizen, two Iranian-Americans and a U.S. resident from Lebanon who had been convicted on spying charges. In July, U.S. President Donald Trump warned that Iran would face “new and serious consequences” unless all “unjustly detained” American citizens were released and returned. Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi identified the four as Princeton University student Xiyue Wang, Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi and his elderly father Baquer and Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese citizen with permanent U.S. residency, the judiciary’s official news website reported. (Reuters)

08-29-2017
Nuclear Program

Iran dismisses a U.S. demand for United Nations nuclear inspectors to visit its military bases as “merely a dream”.

Iran has dismissed a U.S. demand for United Nations nuclear inspectors to visit its military bases as “merely a dream”. It also said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was unlikely to agree anyway. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, last week pressed the IAEA to seek access to Iranian military bases to ensure that they were not concealing activities banned by the 2015 nuclear deal reached between Iran and six major powers. (Reuters)

08-29-2017
Terrorism

Hamas has managed to increase its military capabilities recently and Tehran is again its biggest backer after years of tension, according to Hamas’ leader in Gaza Strip Yehya al-Sinwar.

Hamas has managed to increase its military capabilities recently and Tehran is again its biggest backer after years of tension, according to Hamas’ leader in Gaza Strip Yehya al-Sinwar. Sinwar told reporters that Iran is now “the largest backer financially and militarily” of Hamas’s armed wing. It was his first meeting with journalists since taking up his post in February. “Relations with Iran are excellent and Iran is the largest supporter of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades with money and arms,” Sinwar said in a meeting in his office in the strip. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

08-28-2017
Military

Iran’s advanced S-300 air defense system, delivered by Russia after years of delay, is now “fully integrated” into the air defense network.

Iran’s advanced S-300 air defense system, delivered by Russia after years of delay, is now “fully integrated” into the air defense network, a senior Iranian air force commander told the country’s state media Sunday. In an interview with the Tasnim news network, Gen. Abolfazl Sepehri Rad, deputy commander of the Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base, said the missile defense system has been stationed across Iran and is ready for “practical operations.” (Times of Israel)

08-23-2017
Syria Conflict

New photographs show Iran shipping militant soldiers to Syria on commercial airline flights.

New photographs obtained by congressional leaders show Iran shipping militant soldiers to Syria on commercial airline flights, a move that violates the landmark nuclear agreement and has sparked calls from U.S. lawmakers for a formal investigation by the Trump administration, the Washington Free Beacon has learned. Photographs published by a Washington, D.C., think-tank and provided to Congress show Iran using its flagship commercial carrier, Iran Air, to ferry militants to Syria, where they have joined the fight against U.S. forces in the region. The new photographic evidence has roiled congressional leaders, who accuse Iran of violating the nuclear deal, which prohibits it from using commercial air carriers for military purposes. These lawmakers are demanding the Trump administration investigate the matter and consider imposing new sanctions on Iran. (Washington Free Beacon)

08-22-2017
Nuclear Program

Iran’s atomic chief says the Islamic Republic needs only five days to ramp up its uranium enrichment to 20 percent, a level at which the material could quickly be further enriched for use in a nuclear weapon.

Iran’s atomic chief said Tuesday the Islamic Republic needs only five days to ramp up its uranium enrichment to 20 percent, a level at which the material could quickly be further enriched for use in a nuclear weapon. The comments by Ali Akbar Salehi to Iranian state television come as U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly has threatened to renegotiate or walk away from the 2015 nuclear deal. Salehi’s warning, along with recent comments by President Hassan Rouhani, show Iran is willing to push back against Trump while still acknowledging it wants to keep the deal, which lifted crippling economic sanctions. (The Associated Press)

08-20-2017
Syria Conflict

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says his army has foiled Western attempts to overthrow his government thanks to assistance from allies including Russia, Iran, and Lebanon's Hezbollah movement.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said his army has foiled Western attempts to overthrow his government thanks to assistance from allies including Russia, Iran, and Lebanon's Hezbollah movement. "Their direct support -- politically, economically, and militarily -- has made possible bigger advances on the battlefield and reduced the losses and burdens of war," Assad said during a televised address on August 20. He stressed, however, that "the battle continues" and that it was too early to speak of victory in the country's 6 1/2-year-old civil war. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

08-15-2017
Nuclear Program

Iran's president issues a direct threat to the West, claiming his country is capable of revitalizing its nuclear program within hours and quickly bringing it to even more advanced levels.

Iran's president issued a direct threat to the West on Tuesday, claiming his country is capable of revitalizing its nuclear program within hours and quickly bringing it to even more advanced levels than when Iran reached a deal with world powers that limited its ability to produce nuclear weapons. Hassan Rouhani's remarks to lawmakers follow the Iranian parliament's move earlier this week to increase spending on the country's ballistic missile program and the foreign operations of its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. (The Associated Press)

08-13-2017
Military

Iranian lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to increase the country’s budget for its ballistic missile program and foreign operations by the Revolutionary Guards.

Iranian lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to increase the country’s budget for its ballistic missile program and foreign operations by the Revolutionary Guards, a direct challenge to new United States sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Some lawmakers should “Death to America” after the outlines of the bill to “counter America’s terrorist and adventurist actions” were passed by an overwhelming number of votes in Parliament, state television reported. The increase in the military budget and other measures came in retaliation to legislation passed by Congress and reluctantly signed by President Trump this month to impose new sanctions on Iran over its missile program. (New York Times)

08-08-2017
Anti-Americanism

An unarmed Iranian drone buzzed an American Super Hornet fighter jet as it circled an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

An unarmed Iranian drone buzzed an American Super Hornet fighter jet as it circled an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, Defense Department officials said on Tuesday. A statement released by the military’s Central Command said that despite repeated radio calls demanding that Iran keep the drone clear of American flight operations in the vicinity of the aircraft carrier Nimitz, the Iranian vehicle came within 100 feet of the fighter jet, which had to swerve to avoid a collision. (New York Times)

08-08-2017
Politics

Iran's newly re-elected President has not included any women in his proposed list of 17 ministers reneging on an election pledge to his largely reformist base.

Iran's newly re-elected President has not included any women in his proposed list of 17 ministers, according to Iranian state media, reneging on an election pledge to his largely reformist base. Hassan Rouhani presented his list of Cabinet nominees for all but one of the 18 minister roles on Tuesday. The exclusion of women from the proposed list was widely expected, though appointing a female minister was a central promise made by Rouhani during the election campaign. (CNN)

08-01-2017
Syria Conflict

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have started using a new route across the Gulf to funnel covert arms shipments to their Houthi allies in Yemen’s civil war.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have started using a new route across the Gulf to funnel covert arms shipments to their Houthi allies in Yemen’s civil war, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters. In March, regional and Western sources told Reuters that Iran was shipping weapons and military advisers to the Houthis either directly to Yemen or via Somalia. This route however risked contact with international naval vessels on patrol in the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. For the last six months the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has begun using waters further up the Gulf between Kuwait and Iran as it looks for new ways to beat an embargo on arms shipments to fellow Shi‘ites in the Houthi movement, Western and Iranian sources say. (Reuters)

07-30-2017
Syria Conflict

Iran has built up a multinational network of tens of thousands of young men from across the Middle East, turning them into a well-drilled fighting machine that is outgunning the US on the battlefield.

Iran has built up a multinational network of tens of thousands of young men from across the Middle East, turning them into a well-drilled fighting machine that is outgunning the US on the battlefield, as Tehran outsmarts the White House in the corridors of power. These men can be found leading the defense of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, recapturing land from ISIS in Iraq, and fighting for control of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. The transnational militia of Shiite men — which has no official title — is now the dominant force in the region, enabling Iran to take full advantage in the absence of a coherent strategy from the Trump White House. Over six months, BuzzFeed News spoke to researchers, officials, and militia fighters who described what they knew about the Iranian program, overseen by the secretive Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and its infamous commander Qassem Suleimani — who often shows up on front lines in Iraq and Syria. (BuzzFeed News)

07-27-2017
Nuclear Program

Iran successfully tests a rocket that can deliver satellites into orbit, an action the United States says breaches a U.N. Security Council resolution because of its potential use in ballistic missile development.

Iran successfully tested a rocket that can deliver satellites into orbit, state television reported on Thursday, an action the United States said breaches a U.N. Security Council resolution because of its potential use in ballistic missile development. Iranian state television showed footage of the firing of the rocket, mounted on a launchpad carrying pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, and Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The rocket launch violated United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Thursday. (Reuters)

07-16-2017